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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 
VOLUME 9, NUMBER 1 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Editorial Assistants: 
Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Debra Goldman 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Andrea Estepa 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Jeanne Cawley 
Judith Radler 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St., 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor. 
New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400). a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamnpd self-addressed envelope is 
included. No lesponsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film. Inc. 
1986 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa. membership services; 
Charlayne Haynes. program director; Mary Guzzy. 
administrative director; Sol Horwitz, Short Film 
Showcase project administrator; Debra Goldman, 
Short Film Showcase administrative assistant. 
AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter. 
president; Christine Choy. vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Brenda Webb, secretary; Joyce 
Bolinger, treasurer; St. Clair Bourne; Loni Ding. Pearl 
Bowser; Howard Petrick Robin Reidy; Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio); Barton Weiss. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

lO Show and Tell: Alternative Film Exhibition 

by Nancy Gerstman 

16 For the Cultural Boycott of South Africa 

by Charlayne Haynes 

2 LETTERS 

4 FIELD REPORT 

Tunisian Amateur Hours 

by Toni Treadway and Bob Brodsky 

8 BOOK REVIEW 

"Show Us Life": Toward a History and Aesthetics of the 
Committed Documentary 

reviewed by David Shulman 

21 FESTIVALS 

Northwest Passage: The Seattle International Film 
Festival 

by Coco Fusco 

Ten and Counting: The New England Film Festival 

by Deborah Lefkowitz 

The Wizard of Oz: The Sydney Film Festival 

by Robert Aaronson 

In Brief 

26 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Andrea Estepa 

28 NOTICES 

36 MEMORANDA 




COVER: Under the aegis of the coalition Art Against Apartheid, visual, literary, performance, 
and media artists put their work on the front lines of the anti-apartheid struggle. In '"For the 
Cultural Boycott of South Africa," Charlayne Haynes argues for the necessity and effectiveness 
of the other half of the cultural fight against the South African status quo. Graphic: E. Schiffer, 
courtesy Art Against Apartheid. 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



BALANCING ACTS 

To the editor: 

Renee Tajima's comments on the Atlanta Media 
Project lead readers to believe that Atlanta's media 
community is woefully indifferent to the achieve- 
ments of Black artists. As former program director at 
Atlanta's IMAGE Film/Video Center, I would like 
to set the record straight. 

During the four years of my involvement with IM- 
AGE, the center was a yearly participant in the Third 
World Film Festival. In 1981, Robert Gardner 
opened the Atlanta Film and Video Festival (spon- 
sored by IMAGE) with Clarence and Angel. Denise 
Oliver was selected to appear as the sole guest artist in 
a city-wide women's film festival organized by the 
Center. Pearl Bowser presented a program on the 
roots of Black independent cinema. Charles Burnett 
spoke on Killer of Sheep. Warrington Hudlin and 
Jennifer Lawson served as festival judges. Spike 
Lee's Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop was shown in 
Atlanta at the festival long before it was shown in 
New York, and the 1985 program featured a night 
devoted exclusively to Black video artists. IMAGE'S 
screening series regularly includes works that recog- 
nize and celebrate Black culture. Not a bad record for 
a nonprofit struggling to keep its doors open — and 
one that I'd say measures up to the programming at 
Boston Film/Video Foundation, Film-in-the-Cities, 
and many other national centers. 

There will always be criticism that folks should 
"do more." Worth Long is critical of whites for 
"sending out brochures to 100 Black organizations 
and wondering why they [Blacks] don't come." Sure- 
ly, Long has worked in understaffed, underpaid 
operations where time and money don't permit full- 
fledged publicity and networking campaigns. 

Tajima neatly avoids the uncomfortable subject of 
reverse discrimination. The experience of being 
treated as a token white is just as distressing as the 
more common one of being treated as a token Black, 
and it's discouraging to attend an intimate reception 
for a Third World filmmaker and listen to open talk 
of whites as "The Enemy" as though one were as in- 
visible as the proverbial invisible man. 

Certainly equality of representation in the media is 
the end sought by all those active in the independent 
movement. To downgrade and diminish the sincere 
and dedicated efforts of organizations like IMAGE 
does nothing to further that goal. 

— Linda Dubler 
Atlanta, Georgia 



To the editor: 

As the executive director of IMAGE Film/Video 
Center, one of only three media arts centers in the 
Southeast recognized as such by the National En- 
dowment for the Arts (the others being Appalshop 
and the South Carolina Arts Commission Media Arts 
Center), I Wish to reply to Renee Tajima's limited, in- 

2 THE INDEPENDENT 



adequate description of both the Atlanta Media 
Project and the minority outreach activities of south- 
eastern media arts organizations in her article, 
"Thinking Globally, Acting Locally," in The Inde- 
pendent's October 1985 issue. 

I was never interviewed by Tajima regarding the is- 
sue of minority outreach and participation at IM- 
AGE. She called me only to ask how many of our 
members are Blacks who produce works, and she 
neither told me the specific reason for her questions 
nor asked me to respond to the statements made by 
Cheryl Chisholm (who is now on our board of direc- 
tors) or Worth Long, who says we don't do enough 
minority outreach. If she were a responsible jour- 
nalist, she would have done much more research on 
this subject, which at least would have been to get 
IMAGE'S side of the story. Mimi Pickering from Ap- 
palshop was in town recently (to appear at a Martin 
Luther King Center nonviolent film festival), and she 
confirmed that, to her knowledge, Tajima had not 
contacted anyone at Appalshop to ask questions 
about Frank Eastes and the Native American Indian 
Media Center, either. This is unprofessional and only 
hurts our field when we can't take the time to do the 
proper research necessary to give ourselves the com- 
plete picture. As a newly-elected board member of 
AIVF, I am doubly concerned and hope this type of 
cursory reporting of only one side of the story will be 
corrected. 

My reply would have been that we don't do enough 
outreach to anyone; we have a small, underpaid, over- 
worked staff that cannot take on much more work 
than we have now to run the center's programs and 
keep the doors open. I wish we had the resources to 
do more outreach work; it is one of my goals as direc- 
tor, if I last long enough. Our doors are open to peo- 
ple of all ages, races, and genders, and nothing in our 
past history refutes that policy. 

As independents, we are all minorities in a real 
sense, and I don't think we can afford to subdivide 
ourselves into even smaller factions that look at the 
larger group and accuse them of being "cliquish." 
We are all struggling to survive, and we know we 
aren't doing enough to reach everyone in the field, 
but at this point in our fragile history, it does us no 
good to make unfair accusations of ignorance and in- 
sensitivity on anyone's part, be they white, black or 
purple. In Atlanta, IMAGE exists in a complex web 
of political, economic, and cultural forces that make 
it very difficult to please everyone and still maintain 
even a modicum of integrity and quality, but we have 
managed to do that so far. If The Independent is to 
maintain its integrity and quality as a national jour- 
nal that is accurately reporting the activities and con- 
cerns of the media arts field, its writers have to under- 
stand the complexity of the issues they are dealing 
with when they choose to report on regions far re- 
moved from their immediate reality. In the future, I 
hope to see more reports from the field and not ar- 
ticles written in New York City, based on a few phone 
calls. I will volunteer my services, and I hope other 
AIVF members will do the same. 

—Robin Reidy 

IMAGE Film/ Video Center 

Atlanta, Georgia 



To the editor: 

Congratulations to The Independent and Renee Ta- 
jima for giving national voice to those of us, people 
of color, who struggle daily against the hegemony of 
independent southern media centers. These organi- 
zations differ little, in principle and practice, from 
their mainstream commercial counterparts, and 
would rather define and present our history and 
culture for us than allow us access to the means to in- 
terpret and express them ourselves. 

I encourage my southern, white media friends to 
read Tajima's article and to circulate it widely. It 
should be viewed not so much as an indictment, but 
as a stimulus for change. 

— Vanessa Greene 
New Orleans, LA 

Renee Tajima replies: 

Although IMAGE was never specifically mentioned 
in my article, Linda Dubler's and Robin Reidy's re- 
sponses suggest the sensitivity of media organizations 
to criticism about minority participation. But they 
seemed to have missed my point: to profile two media 
centers in the South, controlled by people of color, 
and to look at their experience from their own 
perspective. 

The research on the piece began with the question, 
why is there so little minority production in the 
South? Dozens of phone calls were placed by me and 
Tracey Willard (whose research assistance was unac- 
knowledged), primarily to minority producers and 
organizations who were the subject of the piece. Al- 
though many with whom I spoke had specific criti- 
cisms of the failures of established and alternative in- 
stitutions in the South to support minority pro- 
ducers, I chose not to focus on that failure. I decided 
instead to take a look at the positive work of two 
organizations that seek to redress years of media dis- 
enfranchisement: the Atlanta Media Project and the 
Native American Indian Media Center. 

But inevitably, AMP and NAIM's own raison 
d'etre is closely linked to the failure of some existing 
organizations. From their point of view, institutional 
racism still exists— never blatant, but just as deleteri- 
ous. And from their point of view, steps to ameli- 
orate the effects of racism have been inadequate. In- 
deed, media activists like Worth Long have worked 
in the nonprofit media milieu for many years. Long 
knows the lay of the land, knows the record of vari- 
ous media centers, and he thinks it has not been 
enough. 

Racism and discrimination is an uncomfortable 
issue, particularly in our own ranks. At a recent panel 
of minority video producers that I moderated for the 
New York Media Alliance, even I was surprised by 
the strong, sometimes bitter comments that were di- 
rected to the white alternative video establishment. 
(It's probably a surprise to some that we would even 
consider them an establishment— that might give you 
an idea how locked out the locked out can be.) I do 
not think this anger must be constantly justified. 

I am reminded of the story of the reader for a 
humanities funding cycle who rejected a project on 
Black Americans, contending that it only looked at 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



slavery and racism without showing "the other side 
of the story. " But I'm surprised at the reaction of rep- 
resentatives from an organization like IMAGE, 
which ostensibly supports the existence of documen- 
taries that take a point-of-view in the face of PBS 
dogmas of "objective journalism." I believe there is 
room for, say, a profile of an 80-year-old nuclear ac- 
tivist and her attitudes towards the bomb. And I 
think there is also a place for a report that looks close- 
ly at the pros and cons of the bomb — just as there is a 
place for an article on, perhaps, the history of the 
minority-white relations in southern media. This was 
not such an article. 

I therefore take issue with Reidy 's charge of unbal- 
anced journalism. Call Mimi Pickering to substanti- 
ate the simple statement that Frank Eastes had a 
residence at Appalshop? (Appalshop, which is 
located in predominantly white Whitesburg, Ken- 
tucky, would probably not be the subject of an article 
on race relations anyway.) This article was meant to 
give insight into NAIM and AMP, not Appalshop, 
nor IMAGE, and that is why NAIM and AMP per- 
sonnel spoke generally about their criticisms rather 
than pinpointing specific organizations. 

Reidy asserts that — far away in New York — I do 
not understand the complexities of the situation in 
Atlanta. But it is Reidy and Dubler who are speaking 
a totally different language from Long, TeSheWa, 
Eastes, Chisholm, or me. When it comes to questions 
of color, it is not a New York City-other regions 
issue. I hoped my quote from Frantz Fanon, from the 
Second Congress of Black Artists and Writers in 
Rome, would have underscored this. 

I regard "reverse discrimination" as a subterfuge. 
Racism is not a question of easy conversations at 
cocktail parties. It is a question of power. Who has 
access? Who has information? Who produces? 
Whose work gets shown? Nor do I consider all inde- 
pendent producers to be "minorities." People of col- 
or and women have a very particular history of 
economic, political, and social oppression — that is at 
the root of our disenfranchisement from and abuse 
by the media. We are not a "smaller faction" that 
must be placated. At one time in history, a lot of peo- 
ple thought that civil rights was everybody's busi- 
ness. I think the reason organizations like NAIM and 
AMP must exist is because not enough of us are mak- 
ing it our business today. I hope Reidy's opening line 
that identifies IMAGE as "one of the only three 
media arts centers in the Southeast recognized as such 
by the [NEA]" is not meant to diminish the impor- 
tance of these two groups. We should not be a field 
defined only by NEA funding guidelines, but by our 
constituencies at home. 

On the surface, it looks like Reidy and Dubler are 
shadowboxing. If IMAGE'S record of Black partici- 
pation is as good as Dubler says, the group would not 
be the subject of criticism. Besides, it would have 
been more helpful to know what percentage of IM- 
AGE'S programming actually involves the work of 
Black producers, rather than Dubler's sampling of 
activities over a four year period. I am glad to see 
that, since this article was printed, Cheryl Chisholm 
has joined the board of IMAGE. Some dialogue will 
probably continue internally. But 1 hope Reidy and 
Dubler will come better prepared to participate in 
that dialogue, with a greater understanding of the 
perspectives and experience of the people of color 
who are a part of the independent media community. 
The article I wrote was meant to be their chance to 
speak. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



Martha Gever replies: 

Beyond taking issue with Renee Tajima's assessment 
of relations between Black independent producers in 
the South and white-dominated media centers, 
Robin Reidy questions "the integrity and quality" of 
The Independent. She speculates that Tajima, and 
perhaps other contributors to the magazine, are ig- 
norant of the complexities of social dynamics in geo- 
graphical areas far from where they live. She requests 
an increase in the geographical diversity of authors 
published in these pages. 

I urge Reidy to examine back issues for the past 
year. She will find many articles written by authors 
living outside New York City. But our primary aim is 
not simply to reflect geographical diversity. We main- 
tain a commitment to reporting on and analyzing 
independent media activity as diverse as the people 
who make, show, teach, distribute, watch, and 
otherwise support this variegated matrix — not 
always determined by points on the map. In this vein, 
Tajima and others have regularly covered topics for 
The Independent that are ignored in other journals. 

Fears about survival and fragility concern many of 
us engaged in alternative media and related institu- 
tions. However, these should not become props, but 
instead, encourage discussions of racism, sexism, 
homophobia, and other social diseases. Calling this 
factionalism, when the differences among us need to 
be recognized and taken seriously, obscures actual 
conflicts, reproducing actual social inequities — and 
fear. If we sink into self-congratuiations — rewriting 
press relases, asking no probings questions — we re- 
linquish any claims to critical consciousness and 
erode that foundation of democratic, alternative 
media. 



MODELING CAREER 



To the editor: 

The trouble with role models is that, as real people, 
they have weaknesses too— a point Debra Goldman, 
in her review of The Legend of Maya Deren [October 
1985], seems unaware of. If Deren "wrestled . . •. with 
her need for male attention" and changed artistic 
styles as she changed men, and if she was "stocky" 
rather than delicate, as she looked in her films, was 
she really formulating a grand deception or is this just 
gossip? I think the latter. Her work dealt with themes 
of ambiguity and sexual confrontation. That those 
remained unresolved issues in her life is not a fair 
criticism. 

As another Russian Jewish filmmaker from Syra- 
cuse, I was strongly influenced by Deren, in part, 
simply because she existed. There are few other 
avant-garde women filmmakers in her generation 
(Leni Reifenstahl's Nazi propaganda films were 
hardly inspiring). To learn now that Deren led a con- 
fused life doesn't diminish her legacy. One discovers 
perfect people exist only in movies, bad ones. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



FIELD REPORT 



TUNISIAN AMATEUR HOURS 



Bob Brodsky and Toni Tread way 

Nineteen sixty-four was a historic date for in- 
dependent cinema in Tunisia. The Association 
of Young Tunisian Filmmakers, today the Tuni- 
sian Federation of Amateur Cineastes, organized 
the first session of a festival that has since become 
one of the most important showcases for nation- 
al amateur cinema, the International Festival of 
Non-Professional Film. Amateur film in Tunisia 
enjoys more popular and government support, 
organized thinking, and unified action than we 
independents in the United States can imagine. 
We were invited to the festival to run technical 
workshops, and, in spite of our familiarity with 
amateur movie-making in North America, we 
were unprepared for the level of enthusiasm that 
amateur films enjoy in this North African na- 
tion. 

Twenty-one years after the first session, this 
festival in the small coastal town of Kelibia has 
become an oasis for movie lovers — aptly, since 
"amateur" in French derives from loving. 
Kelibia is the biannual gathering place for hun- 
dreds of amateur filmmakers from Africa, Asia, 
Europe and the Americas. They come to meet, 
exchange ideas, discuss production methods, 
debate cinematic values, and bear witness to 
their firm commitment to a cinema distinct from 
the commercial model. As Radhi Trimeche, the 
director of the 1985 event, explained, par- 
ticipants at the Kelibia festival are dedicated to 
"an amateur cinema claiming rights to free ex- 
pression and to diversity, a cinema representing a 
plurality of social realities and cultural 
heritages." 

Twenty cine-clubs are spread across Tunisia. 
These local groups of filmmakers have joined 
together for a variety of reasons, ranging from 
viewing films to sharing equipment, from teach- 
ing film technology to discussing cinema art . The 
Tunisian Federation put the total national 
membership of cine-clubs at 30,000, a figure that 
includes the public for amateur films as well as 
approximately 600 actively working filmmakers. 
That total number represents four tenths of a 
percent of Tunisia's population of seven million: 
In comparison, imagine over one million Ameri- 
cans actively supporting U.S. independent 
media on a regular basis. 

The cine-club culture is a grassroots pheno- 
menon, but its adherents are all capable of so- 
phisticated political and social analysis. These 
Tunisian media activists are clear and organized 
about their desire to create an indigenous cinema 
culture and foster an educated and concerned 
viewing public. The Federation and festival or- 
ganizers are well aware of the issues involved in 
4 THE INDEPENDENT 



accepting government support. They walk a fine 
line of cultivating support for film production 
and viewership without compromising their in- 
dependence, a struggle that closely resembles the 
constant balancing act of the U.S. independent 
media community. 

For the first time this year the Tunisian 
Ministry of Culture funded the Federation's pur- 
chase of Super-8 production and exhibition 
equipment for each cine-club. The Federation 
requested this subsidy to stem a decline in pro- 
duction due to rising 16mm costs and because 
few individuals are able to buy Super-8 equip- 
ment, imported to the Third World as a luxury 
item. Yet even before this grant was made, the 20 
clubs were producing 25 to 30 films a year while 
sharing four Super-8 cameras and some 16mm 
equipment. Next year, the clubs anticipate sup- 
port for Vi- and 3 /i-inch video production and 
postproduction equipment. 

Government support of the cine-clubs was 
evident at the festival itself, which invited 300 
representatives of the 20 Tunisian clubs and paid 
their room and board for the week so the club 
members could watch films day and night. These 
participants took advantage of every chance to 
watch films and discuss cinema. Each morning 
they showed up with notes in hand, taking their 
turns at the microphones in the debate hall to 
voice thoughtful and passionate opinions on the 
films they had seen. 

Tunisian Ministry of Culture representatives 
were on hand for official greeting ceremonies 
and participated with apparent delight in the 
awards ceremony. Both national and local of- 
ficials hosted special events for the 60 interna- 
tional guests, making speeches about the impor- 
tance of amateur film as a bridge to international 
understanding, offering soft drinks and almond- 
paste delicacies and giving gifts. We were the on- 
ly people from the United States at an event that 
had delegates from at least 30 countries, while 
many more cultures were represented by films. 
Most international guests were subsidized by 
their own governments, but the Federation took 
all guests in its charge as soon as we stepped off 
the plane. The Arabic speaking countries were 
well represented, as were Belgium, France, 
Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, 
Canada, the Soviet Union, Hong Kong, Sene- 
gal, Guinea, Ivory Coast — and Palestine. 

In addition to invited guests and cine-club* 
members, the participation of the townspeople 
of Kelibia was strong; most nights the 1 ,300-seat 
outdoor theater in the Kelibia Cultural Center 
was filled with ardent spectators. The festival 
was widely promoted on daily television, in the 
newspapers, and even through theatrical news- 
reels that covered many of its activities. We ask- 




Festival participants were greeted by a 
float from the festival parade at the gates 
of the Kelibia Cultural Center. 

Photo Bob Brodsky 

ed our hosts at the festival why the public was so 
receptive to amateur movies and were offered 
the social and political history of Tunisia as a 
context. As a result of Tunisia's long colonial 
history, the people have placed a great priority 
on redefining their own cultures and identities 
both nationally and ethnically since indepen- 
dence in 1956. 

Yet our hosts noted with evident concern the 
quantity of imported media with its suggestions 
of lingering cultural imperialism. French and 
U.S. movies are pervasive, and locally originated 
programming makes up only a small portion of 
the daily television schedule. In the evenings, we 
saw men assemble in the sidewalk cafes to smoke 
and drink green tea, while overhead television 
sets featuring French, Italian, and U.S. pro- 
gramming competed with the din. In most of the 
Arab states of North Africa, certain kinds of 
U.S. media seem inescapable: Dallas and Dynas- 
ty, satellite-delivered pictures of President 
Reagan greeting their prime ministers at the 
White House, the latest Clint Eastwood film 
from Hollywood, and endless, cheaply acquired 
reruns of our TV series from the fifties and six- 
ties. Many Arabs we met at the festival are hotly 
involved with their own independent film move- 
ments and yet have no idea that a U.S. indepen- 
dent media community exists. These same peo- 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



pie would welcome the work of U.S. indepen- 
dents, as well as information about our experi- 
ences with media centers, film funding, 
distribution, and exhibition. Ahmed Zir, a 
Berber filmmaker, told us he believes that local 
home video stores could successfully market 
alternative programming alongside Hollywood 
features. 

The desire to create an antidote to the values 
of Western commercial media was evident in the 
festival's goals, prominently displayed on banners 
that festooned Kelibia's streets during the 
festival. Films were selected and judged on their 
contribution to the edification of a national 
culture, their representation of a national heri- 
tage and social reality, and their attention to na- 
tional liberation movements. Thus the screen- 
ings were filled with documentaries or dramatic 
depictions of social issues: the Polesario struggl- 
ing for identity in the Western Sahara, life on the 
Green Line in Beirut, depictions of Palestinian 
daily life, the beggar child in the streets of Tunis, 
the plight of the Arab immigrant in the suburbs 
of Paris, housing scams and shortages through- 
out the developing world, factory closings, 
union activities, and more. While we could not 
understand the Arabic voice-overs, we learned 
that the world looks quite different from an 
Arab perspective than to those who view it from 
the U.S. Only one Arab film — by the Berber 
Zir — focused on nuclear annihilation; none were 
concerned with acid rain and only one centered 
on women's issues. The single feminist film, En- 
tre la Reve et la Realitie, by Habib Mesteri, won 
a controversial prize for scenario in the interna- 
tional competition. Although generally con- 
sidered technically weak, the film was one of the 
first locally-made films to tackle the subject of 
women's frustration in the Arab world, and the 
jury felt strongly that this kind of material 
deserved encouragement. 

Throughout the week, we could not help no- 
ticing that the Tunisian audiences are more de- 
monstrative than those in North America. In 
Tunisia, a film lives or dies very publicly; only 
those who truly like a movie will applaud while 
others feel free to boo, stomp, or whistle. When 
the national jury, in a controversial move, de- 
clined to give a first prize to a Tunisian film be- 
cause they felt that none merited it, the jury 
chair, critic Sophie El Goulli, had the difficult 
task of explaining to a disgruntled audience that 
the jury had wanted to use its power to encour- 
age higher standards for next year. Amidst audi- 
ence heckling, the Golden Falcon, the festival's 
top prize, was awarded to a modest Argentinian 
production, Witness in Chains, by Fernando 
Spiner. In a plot reminiscent of Antonioni's 
Blow Up, a journalist photographs a murder, 
takes the photos to the police, and is "disap- 
peared" while yet another citizen documents his 
death. The exteriors had to be shot very careful- 
ly, as the film was made in 1981-1982, under the 
former Argentinian military regime. But this 
tightly constructed political thriller could not 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



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THE INDEPENDENT 




Arab women point and shoot in this graphic for the Kelibia festival program. 



match several cinematic extravaganzas in au- 
dience appeal. 

A U.S film, David Casci's Extended Play, was 
by far the biggest crowd pleaser — a preference 
that puzzled us, for it was more Hollywood and 
less amateur than most films screened. Extended 
Play is a carefully made special effects film about 
a video arcade buff and his opponent, a video 
MIG fighter. As the two systematically destroy 
the rest of the arcade on repeated strafings, the 
audience roared its approval, while we felt a little 
embarrassed at yet another Rambo-style U.S. 
creation. It shared second prize with The Magic 
Circle, by Zigurds Vidigush. No two films could 
be more different in style or content. Vidigush's 
film portrays the life cycle of the sturgeon, from 
spawning through caviar, with all the mystery 
that black and white film can conjure. Drawing 
upon the traditions of Soviet montage and his 
own considerable skill in optical printing, 
Vidigush's luminous tale of simple things offers 
a reprise of the techniques of his national cinema 
while remaining a very personal film. 

Animation was the focus of particular excite- 
ment this year. All the animated entries in the 
festival were well received, perhaps because they 
were visually oriented rather than verbal and 
thus completely comprehensible. In addition, 
Canadians Richard Clark and Andre Leduc 
were on hand to give an "animathon." This 
three-day workshop on 16mm black and white 
filmstock was planned for 15 to 20 people, but 
when registration began, more than 80 amassed 
at the door. Clark and Leduc cut off registration 
at five eel-drawing teams of 12 each, took over 
the nursery building behind the cultural center, 
and set up the camera on a stand in the foyer. 
The resulting one-minute films, presented dou- 
ble system on a Sonorex projector, were 
vigorously applauded on awards night by a stan- 
ding room only crowd. 

Our postproduction Super-8 workshop was 
limited to 20 people — one representative from 
each cine-club — a decision made quickly in the 



face of overflow from the other workshop. We 
were asked a lot of questions about every aspect 
of film technology by a room full of men hungry 
for hands-on help with the equipment. They ask- 
ed more questions than could be answered in a 
mere two days, including challenging ones on the 
status of amateur filmmakers and social rela- 
tions in the United States. "Does everyone live 
like they do in DallasV "Why are all the children 
black in the Super-8 film about parent support 
groups that you brought?" "Does your ministry 
of culture give your amateur filmmakers equip- 
ment?" "Would American people be interested 
in seeing our films?" And, our favorite, "Why 
doesn't America have a big international ama- 
teur film festival and invite us all?" 

As we struggled to answer these questions, we 
found ourselves rethinking many aspects of U.S. 
film culture. The definition of "amateur" or 
"non-professional" was one of the more ticklish 
issues. Are U.S. independents too professional 
to participate in an amateur festival? Is it fair for 
relatively large budget films to compete against 
those made with tiny budgets — a question that 
plagues amateur festivals wherever Super-8 com- 
petes with 16mm. Some films in the festival were 
obviously made in local cine-clubs on available 
16mm equipment, while others were made by 
professional film crews on their days off in 
Super-8 with studio sound mixes. In contrast, 
many filmmakers from the U.S. alternative 
media culture start with cheaper formats and 
low-tech styles only to move into the mainstream 
with fancy budgets and techno-toys. Sometimes 
this transition begins with dreams of the big 
time, while for others it is a financial necessity. 
Are filmmakers who make this transition still 
amateurs? Can they still produce films 
representing free expression, diversity, and 
plurality of experience? Do confirmed U.S. 
amateurs even want their films to have a greater 
audience than that which they can assemble in 
their living rooms? And further, is the U.S. 
public at all interested in amateur cinema? 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 




s 




3HL 



Would they support its creation with their tax 
dollars? Would they like to see more personal, 
individual cinematic expressions or experience 
social realities beyond the cliches currently seen 
on TV? 

U.S. affluence provides media access to peo- 
ple with many different aspirations and the 
diverse forms of our cine-culture resist centraliz- 
ed organization. This is not the case in Tunisia, 
where policymakers and press exhibit a high level 
of organized support for amateur cinema, pro- 
moting it without controlling its content. That 
band of pioneers who initiated the festival knew 
that cinema arts were an excellent vehicle for 
people struggling for their national in- 
dependence and cultural identities. In 1985, in 
Kelibia, they seem to have found a balance of 
production and exhibition, public support and 
independent content. Stated Radhi Trimeche, 
"As modestly as the festival was born in 1964, 
thanks to the courage and determination of a 
few founders, Kelibia demonstrates the ongoing 
battle to bring together people and their civiliza- 
tion, to develop exchange and communication 
about cine-culture and finally, and most impor- 
tantly, to work to create a people's cinema." 

Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway are the authors 
ofSuper-8 in the Video Age available in English 
and Spanish. 




L CUS 



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& Production 

COMMU N I CATIONS 

250 WEST 57th STREET, SUITE 1229, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10019 (212) 757-4220 



© Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway 1986 



CORRECTIONS 

The distribution information published at the 
conclusion of Scott MacDonald's review of Fig- 
ures in Motion: Len Lye/Selected Writings [Sep- 
tember 1985] was incomplete. Lye's films Color 
Cry, Particles in Space, Tal Far low, Rhythm, 
Free Radicals, Kaleidoscope, and Colour Flight 
are available from Canyon Cinema, 2325 Third 
St., Suite 338, San Francisco, CA 94107. Also, 
the origins of the Rayogram process, credited to 
Hans Richter, should have been attributed to 
Man Ray, who first used photograms in his film 
Retour a la Raison. 

Another factual error occurred in Martha 
Gever's report on media equipment access 
["That Obscure Object of Techno-Desire," Oc- 
tober 1985]. The Bay Area Video Coalition in 
San Francisco does not possses 1 " to 1 " CMX 
editing equipment, nor are their rates $275 per 
hour. BAVC's facility includes an on-line CMX 
A/B roll 3 /i " to 3 A " system; their commercial 
rates are $ 1 25 per hour and $55 per hour for sub- 
sidized projects. 

And "Multi-Channels: Chicago Video 
Groups" [November 1985], by Jim Brooks, con- 
tained a misleading statement. The 50 users of 
the Center for New Television's editing equip- 
ment should have been qualified as 50 members 
per month. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



BOOK REVIEW 



DISSECTING DOCUMENTARY 



"Show Us Life": Toward a History and 
Aesthetics of the Committed Documentary 

edited by Thomas Waugh 

Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 

1984, 508pp., $37.50 



David Shulman 

Political documentary production in the U.S. is 
facing hard times. Documentary units at com- 
mercial TV networks are being decimated by cut- 
backs and layoffs. The few documentaries being 
produced are probably not destined for prime- 
time slots. Likewise, the crisis for independent 
political documentaries continues. With an em- 
phasis on production values needed to compete 
with mainstream media, they are becoming more 
expensive to produce and more difficult to 
finance. The relative generosity and liberalism 
that existed in the 1970s at agencies like the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Humanities shifted 
abruptly rightward under Reagan in the early 
eighties. Memories of "Masterworks" and 
paranoia linger. The alternative distribution net- 
works formed in the 1960s and seventies, provid- 
ing outlets for political documentaries, have also 
encountered obstacles, with formidable compe- 
tition from home video markets. Some of these 
distributors, such as Unifilm, Brandon Films, 
Odeon, and more recently, Iris Distribution, 
have already gone under. The libraries and 
universities that support these distribution net- 
works have also experienced severe budget cuts. 



At the same time, documentary form seems to 
be entering an important period of evaluation, in 
part precipitated by semiologjcal and structural- 
ist writings of the past decades that dethroned 
realist conventions from any privileged claim to 
truth, reality, or objectivity. There is also a reac- 
tion against formal stagnation. In the struggle to 
get independent political documentaries on 
public TV, producers succumb to PBS formulas, 
as well as dilute political content in the hope of 
getting past the gatekeepers to reach a wider au- 
dience. 

Enter "Show Us Life, " an absorbing anthol- 
ogy of 23 essays surveying some of the most ex- 
citing and exploratory films and filmmakers in- 
involved in the complex history of radical 
documentaries — from the Bolshevik Revolution 
to the battlefields and national cultural 
renaissances in Central America. The title, 
"Show Us Life, " (the cry of a Vertovian peasant 
uncontaminated by the illusionism of dramatic 
form) ironically suggests an innocent trans- 
parency for documentary cinema. Of course, 
this was never possible, although popular con- 
ceptions, some interpretations of cinema verite, 
and assumptions made by some filmmakers, 
make that claim. From the opening essay, Seth 
Feldman's '"Cinema Weekly' and 'Cinema 
Truth': Dziga Vertov and the Leninist Propor- 
tion," the anthology makes it clear that the 
earliest newsreel producers recognized complex 
and encoded uses of symbolic form, and that the 
dividing line between fact and fiction was never 
fixed. 

The book is separated into two historical 




The Commander-in-Chief is transformed into a medieval crossbowman in Santiago 
Alvarez's 1968 film "LBJ," discussed in "Show Us Life." 

8 THE INDEPENDENT 



blocks covering "pioneers" and "contem- 
poraries." Contemporaries are loosely divided 
between Western and Third World films and 
filmmakers. The anthology includes case studies 
of such films as Native Land, Spanish Earth, 
Finally Got the News, The Nightcleaners, 
Harlan County, USA, The Battle of Chile, Hour 
of the Furnaces, and Waves of Revolution. 
Throughout, recurring themes and interconnect- 
ing threads span diverse historical moments and 
stages in national political development. Some 
of these are: the role of the filmmaker as an ac- 
tive participant in political movements, the social 
relations of production, the role of the Com- 
munist Party, audiences and related issues of 
distribution, relations between use value and 
aesthetic considerations, and the incorporation 
of critical techniques to combat dominant cul- 
tural forms. 

In his introduction editor Thomas Waugh 
summarizes some of the conclusions of con- 
tributors Steve Neale, Paul Willemen, and Claire 
Johnston: "[The documentary] relies no less 
than any other filmic genre on its own systems of 
codes, conventions, and cultural assumptions 
and mediations." He then offers a succinct 
outline for one of the central theoretical issues 
facing documentary production today: "A 
documentary that doesn't challenge the terms of 
its own conventions of belief and that does not 
subscribe to the aesthetic prescriptions of what 
has become known as 'political modernism' is 
guilty not only of a fallacious realism but also of 
political complicity." (Waugh quotes the term 
"political modernism" from Frederic Jameson, 
who is presumably referring to artists and critics 
like Brecht and Adorno and the modernism vs. 
realism debate, with Lukacs on the side of 
realism.) Virtually all of the contemporary films 
described in Show Us Life demonstrate con- 
sciousness of conventions of belief. Some films 
exploit those conventions to achieve political ob- 
jectives, others consciously try to depose them. 
For instance, Julianne Burton's "Democratizing 
Documentary: Modes of Address in the Latin 
American Cinema, 1958-72," chronicles Latin 
American filmmakers' attempts, to develop 
pluralistic and democratic modes of address. She 
examines how undemocratic social structures 
may be echoed by authoritarian film structures, 
such as the anonymous, omniscient voice-of- 
God narrator. 

However, the ideological challenge posed by 
such critical approaches to documentary seems 
to be sidestepped in Waugh's introduction. 
What's at stake for the future of documentary 
production remains for the reader to ponder. 
Furthermore, Waugh questions whether the 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



common sense understanding of documentary 
will ever change much, observing, " . . .the new 
documentary theory has never even threatened 
to dislodge documentary as an important and 
discrete arena of committed film practice. The 
new skepticism has not led radical film activists 
to abandon documentary in favor of Godardian 
introspection: far from it." In a subtle way, this 
passage seems to pit documentary theory against 
documentary practice. Waugh refuses to 
recognize that documentary form in 1985 re- 
mains an open question, and the "common 
sense understanding" he proposes is a paradigm 
that can and probably will shift dramatically. 

Despite this seeming evasion, "Show Us Life" 
is both timely and significant. Very few books 
provide either a theoretical or topographical 
overview of political documentary production of 
the past 60 years. It would be unfair to expect 
any single anthology to cover the entire terrain. 
The anthology took five years to complete and 
was originally intended to be twice the size. 
Waugh freely admits that more is needed. Un- 
fortunately, the book reproduces some tradi- 
tional omissions; there is a conspicuous absence 
of writings about films made by American 
Blacks, Asian Americans, Africans, or Chinese. 

While Waugh may understate the practical 
impact of new documentary theory, the essay 
"Brecht in Britain: The Nightcleaners and the In- 
dependent Political Film," by Johnston and 
Willemens, discusses attempts to overturn tradi- 
tional power relations between producers and 
consumers by encouraging viewers not only to 
think about women workers' unionization ef- 
forts but about the limits of the images used to 
reflect the reality of their lives as well. Johnston 
and Willemen argue that the device of intercut- 
ting black leader in their film refocuses attention 
on the editing process and destroys the illusion of 
seamless documentary realism. The black spac- 
ing, they claim, also functions to suggest absent 
images of women's lives that cannot be filmed. 
But The Nightcleaners may typify a dilemma of 
political documentaries that experiment with 
form. They either risk never reaching a wide au- 
dience, or playing for an audience that finds the 
films obscure, therefore confusing. But some 
films must take these risks. Even without wide 
distribution, they begin to challenge ways of see- 
ing and suggest possibilities for future genera- 
tions of producers and viewers. 

What makes political films political poses a 
question that goes beyond cinematic form and 
content. Steve Neale, in "Notes and Questions 
on Political Cinema: From Hour of the Furnaces 
to Ici et Ailleurs, " suggests that the organization 
of a film's production, distribution, and exhibi- 
tion — the context in which it is shown — is a more 
meaningful determination of what's political. 
Neale points out that distribution systems in- 
fluence what is possible to produce and pro- 
gram, but the impact of what is possible may 
also be limited by distribution systems where 



political films circulate as entertainment. 

Both essays raise major questions for political 
documentary producers. The critical method 
embodied in The Nightcleaners challenges the 
workings of conventional political propaganda. 
Today, when documentaries of the left and right 
use the same techniques — e.g., appeal to "ex- 
perts" and other authority figures, shocking im- 
agery, subliminal sound effects, etc. — how does 
this reflect the power relations between film- 
makers and audience? Are these techniques real- 
ly ideologically neutral? To what extent does the 
uncritical use of these and other devices threaten 
the efficacy and credibility of political documen- 



tary form today? Rambo, the White House 
"Tuesday Team," and the prominence of right 
wing groups like Accuracy in Media may offer 
the most compelling argument for making pro- 
gressive documentaries that help viewers under- 
stand how images embody ideology. Crisis is not a 
premise of "Show Us Life. "But, dusting off the 
tracks of where documentaries have been, the 
book stimulates diagnostic as well as prescriptive 
thinking. 

David Shulman 's videotape Race Against Prime 
Time was recently broadcast on Britain 's Chan- 
nel Four and WNET in New York. 



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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



SHOW & TELL 

ALTERNATIVE FILM EXHIBITION 



Nancy Gerstman 



Mention the phrase "alternative cinema" to any 
cinephile over 30 and chances are the sixties 
come to mind. This was a Golden Age — the hey- 
day of underground cinemas and university film 
societies — when film lovers could indulge in any 
number of cinematic appetites. Now, people in 
the industry refer to the demise of university film 
societies and the commercialization of alter- 
native film exhibition. At the same time, there 
has been a remarkable growth of community- 
oriented cinemas that, in spirit and vitality, are 
the direct descendants of the university film 
societies of the late sixties and early seventies. 

The first university film societies emerged con- 
currently with growing interest in film as a course 
of study. During the sixties and early seventies 
hundreds of these societies blossomed, showing 
every type of film — classics, foreign films, 
experimental shorts, avant-garde features and 
documentaries of all sorts. Competition with 
local theaters remained minimal because stu- 
dents would still pay to see the latest release on a 
Saturday night date. But film courses inspired 
film buffs, who consequently started program- 
ming films that they read about in Film Quarter- 
ly and Cahiers du Cinema. As Al Milgrom of the 
U Film Society in Minneapolis recalls, "You'd 
drool a little bit when you knew that a lot of these 
interesting films were available elsewhere and 
not here . . . . My programming was a natural 

lO THE INDEPENDENT 



outgrowth of my academic, travel, and film in- 
terests." Milgrom also attributes the success of 
university film societies to the political climate. 
"During the Vietnam era people became aware 
that there was more going on on-screen than in 
the cruder forms of entertainment. TV couldn't 
supply much emotional punch, so films became 
more important in changing and directing at- 
titudes." 

In those days, Ron Epple's independent Ex- 
panded Cinema at the University of Illinois in 
Urbana showed short experimental films once a 
month. One of Epple's first programs, Bunuel 
and Dali's Un Chien Andalou, Nelson's O Dem 
Watermelons, Anger's Scorpio Rising, Em- 
shwiller's Dance Chromatic, and Warhol's 
Mario Banana attracted a huge audience — hun- 
dreds were turned away. University students ac- 
counted for the high attendance figures, but 
sometimes there were visitors from the local 
community. Epple remembers that this early 
avant-garde program attracted the Danville 
Outlaws, a motorcycle gang that had heard he 
was going to show a film about bikers. 

At the University of New Mexico, film pro- 
grammer Noah Golden says their 190-seat 
theater "sold out all the time" during the 1960s. 
And at Webster College in St. Louis, Missouri, 
"There was a very politically active film scene, 
and much avant-garde work was shown," ac- 
cording to programmer David Kinder. "As I 
looked through some old schedules, some of the 
films they screened really surprised me." Films 



were often screened in haphazard style, with bad 
projection, hard seats, terrible sound, and prints 
that varied wildly in quality. But, in some cities, 
the campus was the only place to see noncom- 
mercial movies, and the schools that had 
political activity and a counterculture scene were 
also very active on the film front. David Pratt of 
the University of Wisconsin in Madison recalls 
that" the film society "was legendary — the 
university encouraged a laissez-faire attitude." It 
was not that unusual for Jean-Luc Godard, 
Nicholas Ray, or someone of similar stature to 
appear as a visiting filmmaker. Comments Pratt, 
"There was a strong emphasis, as in many 
schools in the sixties, on auteurist fare and avant- 
garde, experimental works." 

In 1985, things have changed at the University 
of Wisconsin. "The regular fare now consists of 
films like Risky Business, The Graduate, and 
Harold and Maude. And students don't want to 
see black and white films — they find them bor- 
ing and antiquated. There is still a small group 
showing avant-garde and experimental work. 
But the university is no longer in the 
vanguard — the local art theater is," say Pratt. 
"Film students are much more production- 
oriented now, and much less interested in inter- 
national cinema than they were," observes film 
professor Edwin Jahiel at the University of Il- 
linois. "It's the 'Reagan mentality.' Now they 
know rock singers and TV sitcoms." Milos 
Stehlik, director and programmer at Facets 
Multimedia in Chicago agrees, "Students don't 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 




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Graphic George Griffin, courtesy Film Forum 



support alternative programming at all 
anymore." 

Expanded Cinema has experienced profound 
changes since its euphoric first years. After 
presenting successful programs of short inde- 
pendent films, Epple saw a sharp decline in at- 
tendance around the mid-seventies. In the sixties 
and early seventies, attracting 300 people for each 
show on a weekend was common; now attendance of 
300 for an entire weekend is rare. "There is so lit- 
tle interest in anything even slightly 'alternative.' 
I can't allow myself a luxury or passion that 
wouldn't make money." Epple won't be playing 
any foreign language films this year, or any 
documentaries. He says, "I still won't show 
Porky 's or Rambo but will probably end up 
playing Pale Rider and most of the other popular 
fare" — if he can get it before it goes on the local 
cable movie channel. 

Just as programmers link the boom in film 
fascination to the social flux of the sixties, many 
credit the demand for more conventional pro- 
grams to conservative student attitudes. But ad- 
ministrators and faculty are equally implicated. 
Epple complains that the various departments at 
the University won't agree to cosponsor films or 
require attendance for their classes. "This is the 
only way we can show interesting programs and 
still make money," he explains. At Syracuse 
University, the level of concern for film pro- 
gramming is demonstrated by their plans for a 
student union building — it won't have a theater. 

Much university programming has become 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



monopolized by large distributors who sell in 
bulk. As Kinder says, "Most college exhibitors 
are serfs, who have to play off eight or 10 titles to 
get the two or three they want." This, plus cut- 
backs of funds to universities by the Reagan ad- 
ministration, has forced once vital film societies 
to become more timid and Hollywood-oriented. 
There are, however, a number of film societies 
that still thrive, showing varied fare. The Univer- 
sity of New Mexico film society provides a good 
example. The current programmer Noah 
Golden took charge of a society that had 
previously lost $25,000 on "popular" films. 
They now refuse to show what Golden calls 
"schlock," and "we work hard at our pub- 
licity." Once they built a regular audience for 
their weekly series, the society initiated a series of 
documentaries, which have proved quite popu- 
lar. They get standing room only crowds and let 
teachers know about films that might overlap 
with academic subject matter. The university has 
been supportive — a prerequisite for the survival 
of these societies. They are not budgeted for pro- 
gramming but screening space, offices, equip- 
ment, and projectionists are provided. 

The formidable film society at the University of 
Texas at Austin, the sole film programming enti- 
ty on a campus with 52,000 people, is considered 
an auxiliary enterprise of the university. Steve 
Bearden, who programs the series, finds that 
there is still a large audience for non-Hollywood 
films, but that the film society in the eighties 
must be run as a business. "Most film societies 



fall down on marketing and overpay for losing 
films. Consistency is extremely important. You 
have to be there and showing movies all the 
time." Bearden programs 25 movies weekly and 
takes in enough income from popular films like 
Destroy All Monsters to allow risks that would 
be impossible at most universities. 

The "laissez-faire" attitude of the sixties and 
early seventies described by David Pratt is no 
longer realistic. Universities that don't supply 
development money or clamp down on com- 
peting, random film societies or put ceilings on 
profits (thus curtailing additional community 
outreach) are bound to fail in the pragmatic 
eighties. Film rentals are expensive and, without 
such support, a society can easily flounder. The 
film societies with the most innovative sched- 
ules — and the most successful — are those like 
Cornell Cinema in Ithaca and Webster College 
in St. Louis that have received some support 
from their schools but are funded to build au- 
diences in the surrounding community. Also, for 
the most part, they are the only places in town to 
provide an alternative to commercial offerings. 
And they work, remarkably, without in- 
terference from university administrators. 

Like the U. of Wisconsin, Cornell once had a 
lot of groups showing films. Unlike Madison, 
however, the options at Cornell were much more 
pop-oriented, and there wasn't much variety in 
presentation. Now, according to Cornell 
Cinema's programmer Richard Herskowitz, his 
organization is run like a private business; it is 

THE INDEPENDENT 11 




WSDHCSOAY 



IHURSBar / FR1DA T 



SATUSOAY 



WEDNESDAY 



THUHKOAY/FBIOAY 



SATURDAY 



the only group on campus permitted to charge 
admissions. Consistent, conscientious grassroots 
publicity brings in audiences that fill their four 
theaters; at least one-third of the films are 
cosponsored by community or school groups. 
They play big commercial hits, classic films, 
U.S. independent films, and, surprisingly, ex- 
perimental and avant-garde cinema is alive and 
well in Ithaca. 

"There is a really devoted audience €or films 
by people like Bruce Conner or Kenneth 
Anger," says Herskowitz. He hosts at least 15 
visiting filmmakers every year, including one 
prominent European director. This past October 
over 15 documentaries were screened. Like most 
of the successful film societies, there is a con- 
scious effort to build audiences. According to 
Herskowitz, "Ithaca is conservative as to whom 
they'll admit into their pantheon. They'll accept 
Satyajit Ray, but not Mrinal Sen. But people 
really seem to like events, so we'll have an Indian 
Film Festival to encourage audience acceptance. 

Even with this impressive record, they recently 
eliminated one of their series, and they've had to 
play a bit to commercial interests. Almost no 
funding comes from the university: $10,000 of 
their $270,000 budget. Although they receive less 
funding from state and national arts councils 
than other programs of their scope, the New 
York State Council on the Arts contributes 
about $5,000 a year. Cornell Cinema encounters 
pressures similar to those of a commercial 

12 THE INDEPENDENT 



theater: home video and cable diminishes au- 
diences for the most popular films. And they 
need this revenue to underwrite the alternative 
programming. At this point, he intends to apply 
for more university and arts council support, 
while resisting commercialization by a number 
of means, including possible sales of video 
cassettes. 

Like Cornell, the Webster Film Society had to 
identify off-campus audiences and pursue them 
vigorously in order to change their programs 
from "strictly Hollywood" to more diverse of- 
ferings. In 1980, David Kinder remembers, "I 
became fascinated by the American independent 
movement and wanted to bring in independent 
films when no one else was doing it." That year, 
the budget for the film series was healthy because 
the society became an arm of the administration 
instead of the student body. At the same time, 
Kinder recognized the threat presented by video 
rentals and cable, the need to find "a second au- 
dience besides the entertainment-oriented one." 
He faced this challenge when, in the fall of 1982, 
the society's audience fell 75 percent, because 90 
percent of the homes in the outlying areas of St. 
Louis were wired for cable. 

Kinder began bringing filmmakers to speak 
about their films, and when the school requested 
that he curtail that program because of the ex- 
pense, he applied to the Missouri State Arts 
Council for a grant. And got one. He also 
secured money from other areas within the 



school, like the Black Students Association and 
the women's organization, which underwrote 
the cost of some programs. The Missouri Arts 
Council has renewed funding for the program, 
and this fall there will be a visiting artist every 
week of the semester. Kinder has consolidated 
his audience by developing a large mailing list, 
printed schedules, bulk, targeted mailings for 
every film shown, and course-related series, 
along with cultivating hard-won support from 
newspaper and TV critics in the area. Kinder ad- 
mits that it is still "really hard to bring in crowds 
but there is an audience for just about 
anything." Because of the influx of cable and 
VCRs, his first-run screenings have been 
substantially more popular than second-run 
commercial programs. "Films like Seeing Red, 
The Good Fight, and Bix have been very 
popular. Studio films that have never opened in 
St. Louis, like Barbarosa, Zoot Suit, and The 
Ballad of Gregorio Cortez have done really 
well." He plays a number of films with political 
themes "depending on their availability. In the 
first six months of 1985 we played about seven 
feature-length political films, in the second six 
months, none." 

Film societies that do grassroots marketing 
mirror the community-oriented cinemas that 
began to appear around 1972, when the art 
houses fell into decline and the National Endow- 
ment for the Arts started funding film exhibi- 
tion. B. Ruby Rich, director of the Film Pro- 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 




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gram at the New York State Council on the Arts, 
explains, "In the early days alternative exhibi- 
tion was mostly housed in museums. The first 
was the Pacific Film Archive, the prototype that 
the other museums and media centers fol- 
lowed." NYSCA's 1972-73 grants included 
the first ($1 1 ,500) funding for the Film Forum in 
New York City, a nonprofit exhibition space 
specializing in independent, experimental, and 
avant-garde works that opened as "50 folding 
chairs in an 88th Street loft," according to direc- 
tor Karen Cooper. In 1974, "a watershed year 
for New York State," in Rich's words, 80 exhibi- 
tion organizations were funded, compared to 
55 the previous year. "Funding went wild. . . 
from $479,000 in 1973 to $1,007,172 in 1974." 

Though increased funding paved the way for 
community cinemas, other factors inspired their 
development. Many exhibitors credit the 
women's movement — the most permanent man- 
ifestation of the sixties political culture — as pro- 
viding their first, and most important, audience 
base. They also acknowledge the significance of 
U.S. independent films, a form with renewed 
energy in the mid-seventies. Independent film- 
makers saw their efforts as perfectly compatible 
with the sites that provided alternatives to 
Hollywood products. And exhibitors could 
cooperate with smaller distributors who put 
more care into their efforts and could support 
their important grassroots work. Many of these 
cinemas were founded with the aim of showing 



films that weren't commercially available. Most 
were established as an antitdote to the limited 
choices offered in large cities, and some were 
opened in cities that had no discernable film 
culture. Some were even opened as an extension 
of or alternative to more conventional university 
film society programming. 

A few, like Facets Multimedia in Chicago, in- 
tended to combat a "dreary" film scene that, in 
the sixties, had been "pretty active and in- 
teresting," according to founder Milos Stehlik. 
Along with the Film Center at the Chicago Art 
Institute and. Chicago Filmmakers, Facets 
wanted to bring diversity back to film exhibition 
in Chicago. Stehlik started in 1975 with $40 and a 
typewriter; subsequently Facets received funding 
from the National Endowment for the Arts and 
Illinois Arts Council. Now 84 percent of their in- 
come is earned, but the money goes directly back 
into operating expenses, creating "a perpetual 
state of being broke." Facets has worked very 
hard at expanding audiences by giving attention 
to community interests and has succeeded. "We 
would never be happy going the museum route, 
establishing a small core audience and depending 
on them," says Stehlik. "We direct our pro- 
grams at the ethnic communities, and we are 
always reaching out to them." 

The Neighborhood Film Project in Philadel- 
phia began with a similar goal, described by 
director Linda Blackaby as "working with com- 
munity groups who wanted to use film, and to 



bring alternative exhibition to a city that showed 
practically no non-English-speaking films at all." 
With an $1 1,000 grant from a local community 
foundation, their first programs were anything 
but conventional, screening Chris Choy's From 
Spikes to Spindles, two films on women's 
health, a feature-length documentary on Puerto 
Rico, and Hugh King's We The People. Later 
they premiered films like The Memory of 
of Justice, Merchant of Four Seasons, and 
Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Blackaby remem- 
bers, "There were virtually no first-run houses 
for foreign films, so we kept getting these in- 
credible premieres." 

Since then, the cinematic climate in Philadel- 
phia has changed. Some commercial theaters 
now show films similar to those the Neighbor- 
hood Film Project pioneered. But Blackaby 
doesn't see her organization's role as com- 
petitive. "In a lot of cases we develop audiences 
for the most commercial cinemas, and our role is 
to show the things they're afraid of, that are 
risky." She believes that the advantage of an 
alternative exhibition space is "to get behind a 
film, and to present it in an appropriate context. 
When the Roxy Cinema showed Variety, people 
thought it was a porno movie and walked out. 
They were totally unprepared for it." 

At the U Film Society in Minneapolis — now 
more community-oriented because it is a guest of 
the University but receives no funding from 
it — competition with local commercial venues 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



13 



CINE DE VERANO EN LOISAIDA 



Teatro hueva Asamblea 






No Reaccion Nuclear 



H-.i>.-n\.| iU l. 



O Henry Hilkflohn Zom 



| El Caso del Vetera no • 
Piernas: lames Kutcher 



| Los dos Mundos De 
Angelita 



A T raves de Los Ofos de 
Adolescentes 



I La llusjon Viajeen Trarrvia 



Besame Mortalmente 



Desaparecido 



| Hermanos y Hermanas En 
Concierto 



I La Opera de Tres Centavos 



QeI Metraje de Maya Deren 
Sobre Las Cererrmias de 
Voudoun y Fiestas Secu lares 
de Haiti (1947-55) 



Peliculas de Baile Mundial 



| Eric SobteirW Irving Barrett 






El Muieriego 



En Dia QweJa Item Se 
Paralizo 



Salty Garcia y Su Familia 




Decision a Canar 
(Las Primera Fnrras) 



Percfido, Pertfido, Perdido 



Tratado Roto 

En Battle Mountain 




■ill U Barberia de foes en 
F>d£tuv£>ecaprtarnoa 
Cabezai 



El Orgullo de Los Yanqus 



7 



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Cabina en Los Cielo 



la Ultima Cera 



can be intense. And competition with Film in the 
Cities and the Walker Art Center, media centers 
with large exhibition programs, contributes to a 
very rich cultural life in Minneapolis/St. Paul. 
According to Al Milgrom, the Film Society was 
at first "very auteur-oriented and brought in a 
lot of directors." Their first programs in the six- 
ties were extraordinary — one calendar listed El, 
Way Down East, Nosferatu, Leda, Underworld, 
Bombshell, The Southerner, Family Portrait, 
experimental films, local independent films, and 
a Dutch film, The House, with the director pre- 
sent. The schedules continue to be exceptionally 
diverse with a strong Eastern European em- 
phasis and many special events. Though atten- 
dance and memberships have increased over the 
years — with a slight drop this year — Milgrom, 
like Stehlik at Facets, complains about the 
demands of his audience and the need to "stand 
on his head" to get them to come. "Audiences 
aren't enthusiastic anymore. Film was impor- 
tant in the Vietnam era but now we have to 
compete with the Tiffany lamp fern bars. The ac- 
tivists have become middle-aged and are staying 
at home. The only way we can attract people is to 
make filmgoing more of an event — to create ex- 
citement." Fifteen percent of U Film's budget is 
accounted for by grants and memberships, but 
they only break even. Milgrom attributes many 
of these financial problems to distributors, 
especially the classics divisions, who have 
"driven up the costs of films that years ago 
14 THE INDEPENDENT 



would have played at the drop of a $100 bill." 
Some exhibitors have also made an impact in 
large cities where, due to a surfeit of theaters, 
they should have had a more difficult time carv- 
ing out a niche. For instance, Boston, with its ac- 
tive campus film scene and many theaters serving 
diverse interests, is home to the 12-year old 
Angry Arts, a collective dedicated to showing 
films "about people in struggle." According to 
collective member Henry Wortis, organized po- 
litical activity in Boston, like everywhere, has 
dwindled, but with "good audience develop- 
ment, people have come to rely on our judgment 
about films." Angry Arts receives no subsidies, 
and they have never had a salaried staff. 
However, attendance has increased yearly, now 
averaging 300 people per show. Their biggest 
money-makers last year were Malcolm X, The 
Battle of Chile, and Choosing Children — testi- 
mony to the possibility of programming radical 
material. "Getting crowds still takes a lot of ef- 
fort, and getting reviews is difficult," comments 
Wortis. "We're doing well because we offer 
something different." But there is still a lot of 
competition for a finite audience — 23 new 
theaters have opened in Boston in the last three 
years. 

Another unconventional venue, Films Charas 
in New York City's East Village, opened in 1981 . 
Founder Doris Kurnish explains, "The neigh- 
borhood had died as much as it was going to die 
and had to begin building again." From the 



beginning, Charas offered an eclectic schedule 
while remaining community-oriented. They 
brought filmmakers to speak about their films, 
and they showed many Spanish-language films 
in order to serve local residents. Critics, charmed 
by their spirit and ingenuousness, began writing 
about them. Grants from NYSCA and the Film 
Bureau at Film/ Video Arts have enabled them to 
expand their activity. Strong community support 
has helped Charas bring in sizable audiences for 
some unusual programs. "One time we sold out 
our 400-seat theater with Haitian footage by 
Maya Deren. We had people standing down the 
block," recounts Kurnish. Charas also occupies 
a 200-seat cabaret-style theater. "People love to 
come there," says Kurnish, "because it's a com- 
fortable setting, and not intimidating. When 
John Sayles came to speak with Baby, It's You, 
he was so excited — the energy was amaz- 
ing — that he talked until midnight." 

Helena, Montana, Lincoln, Nebraska, or 
Huntingdon, Long Island, may not appear to be 
likely sites for dynamic film exhibition. But ex- 
pectations aside, the Second Story Cinema, the 
Sheldon Film Theatre, and the New Community 
Cinema provide exciting cultural oases for the 
film-starved. Arnie Malina, a transplanted New 
Yorker started the Second Story Cinema in 
Helena "with $6,000 and a need for something 
culturally stimulating in a town of 25,000 
people." Lincoln's Sheldon Film Theatre serves 
a city that is mostly conservative, white, and 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 




„„ oft!** of ^^"^^^pggggm 




middle class, but as a subsidized entity in a town 
with only commercial theaters, the Sheldon can 
function as an art house as well as sponsor 
museum-type programs. Still, both Second 
Story and the Sheldon are prone to the same 
worries of other alternative cinemas: changes in 
audiences and the incursions of home video and 
cable. And lately, Dan Ladely, the Sheldon's 
programmer, has been preoccupied with drum- 
ming up private funding to "keep the film pro- 
gram alive" after the Nebraska Arts Council cut 
his budget this year. Over the years, however, 
community support in Helena and Lincoln has 
been heartening. 

The New Community Cinema in Huntington, 
Long Island — so close to New York City yet so 
far in terms of filmgoers' tastes — has become an 
integral part of their community, and the com- 
munity loves them for it — up to a point. Char- 
lotte Sky, who started the cinema as a bring- 
your-own-chairs situation in a small dance 
studio, expresses serious concern about the 
future. "The town government has tried to close 
us down several times, but people came out and 
protested, so they got nervous and backed off. 
But the new town administration is very conser- 
vative. They hate our guts and we know it." Cer- 
tain programs have upset town officials, espe- 
cially a night of Cuban films. Now they are try- 
ing to force the cinema to close down again. The 
Cinema's landlord — the town itself — has not of- 
ficially evicted Sky and her partner, Vic Scol- 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



nick, but has repossessed the theater's lounge 
and raised the already-hefty rent every six 
months. Funding covers 10 percent of New Com- 
munity Cinema's budget, and NYSCA and the 
Film/Video Arts Film Bureau has been "won- 
derful," says Sky. "However, profits go right 
back into programming and operating expenses. 
There is no fat in the budget." At this point, the 
New Community Cinema must find new 
quarters and supplement their funding. "When 
you are constantly worrying about how much 
money each program is going to bring in, you 
can't take programming risks anymore," Sky 
regrets. "We have heard that any association 
with left causes will hurt our fundraising." To 
preserve their independence, they are applying to 
more liberal political foundations for funding 
and help in securing bank loans, in addition to 
organizing a series of fundraising events. 

Problems similar to those of the New Com- 
munity Cinema notwithstanding, NYSCA 
reports that in the last few years they have re- 
ceived strong exhibition requests from all over 
New York State. And this trend can be observed 
nationwide. Over the years, most community 
cinemas have experienced some financial fluctu- 
ations, but, for the most part, these changes have 
not seriously affected programming. 

Looking to the future, the challenge of video 
and cable is being met by more imaginative pro- 
gramming, special events, and improved or ex- 
panded presentation. At least 16 out of the 19 



programmers interviewed for this article plan to 
improve their theaters or are moving to larger, 
more comfortable quarters. At least half are in- 
vestigating video programming, and a third in- 
tend to package cable programs or provide alter- 
native video rentals for their audience. Facets 
Multimedia has already entered the cassette 
business. On a recent trip to England, B. Ruby 
Rich noted that "VCRs do not seem to be hur- 
ting nonprofit, alternative sites, but in 15 years 
they will have completely changed the commer- 
cial repertory. I believe that will happen here 
too." 

What insures the survival of community 
cinemas in this country is the very thing that 
makes them so unique and worthy of emula- 
tion — a visionary, yet practical approach to film 
exhibition. 

I would like to thank Richard Peterson for his assist- 
ance in conducting research for this article. 

Nancy Gerstman coordinates theatrical book- 
ings at First Run Features in New York City. 

© Nancy Gerstman 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



FDR THE CUIURAL BOYCOTT 



Charlayne Haynes 



In these times there has been no other political 
issue that has so markedly divided artists of 
various disciplines, whether they identify 
themselves as independents or not, than support 
for the cultural boycott against South Africa. 
Debate has flourished in the pages of this 
magazine, questioning the correctness of the 
boycott, its impact on the apartheid system, and 
the appropriate course for independent film- 
makers.* It is imperative that we put the boycott 
in proper perspective, look at its history, pur- 
pose, and reason for existence, and realize why it 
is central in the battle to destroy apartheid and 
advance cultural, as well as political national 
liberation. 

Apartheid cannot be compared to the racial 
segregation that characterized the southern 
United States for the last few centuries. Nor can 
it be mistaken for the racial discrimination that 
people of color experience in the northern in- 
dustrial centers. Codified in 1948, apartheid is a 
legally sanctioned system of economic, political, 
and cultural domination and oppression, 
authorized by the South African government to 
safeguard its class interests and privileges, im- 
posed on 72 percent of its population on the 
basis of color. Since then, the white majority in 
South Africa has enacted over 200 racist laws 
designed to disenfranchise and dehumanize the 
Black, Indian and other Asian populations, 
leaving the Black majority entrenched as cheap 
labor in an exploitative economic system. 

The white minority of approximately four 
million , about 1 8 percent of the total population , 

"Ed. 's note: In the June 1984 issue of The Indepen- 
dent, a one paragaph item summarized the response 
of the African National Congress to solicitations of 
the films for the Durban International Film Festival. 
Consistent with its cultural boycott strategy, the 
ANC counselled nonparticipation. In a letter 
published in the September 1984 Independent, pro- 
ducer Robert Mugge argued against the ANC posi- 
tion, defending his choice to show his films at 
festivals in South Africa, hoping "to provide 
whatever small encouragement I can to the forces of 
resistance in an oppressed society." Mugge's letter 
was then reprinted, without permission from The In- 
dependent, in the Journal of the South African Film 
and Television Technicians Association. Replies tak- 
ing issue with Mugge and supporting the cultural 
boycott, from Gerald Home, St. Clair Bourne, and 
Mable Haddock, appeared in the November 1984 
and March 1985 issues of The Independent, along 
with one, by David Appleby, in favor of ignoring the 
boycott. 

16 THE INDEPENDENT 



governs South Africa through its elected 
representatives. The parliament is tricameral on- 
ly on paper; only the white chamber, elected by 
whites only, holds real power. Indeed since col- 
onialization, the white minority has always as- 
sumed authority over the entire country. 
Without consultation or negotiation with the 
Black majority, the whites unilaterally decided 
which parts of the country should be Black and 
which white. Whites gave themselves 86.3 per- 
cent of the land and the remaining 13.7 percent 
to the Black population. No land was allocated 
to the Asian or Indian peoples, who account for 
about 15 percent of the total population. 

In 1959, that 13.7 percent was divided into 10 
"Bantu Homelands," or Bantustans, with the 
passage of the "promotion of Bantu Self- 
Government Act." These rural ghettos have 
been labeled "homelands" for about 16 million 
Black Africans. The Bantustans have separate 
governments with limited powers: legislative 
assemblies comprised of appointed chiefs, head- 
men, and elected members. Government propa- 
ganda insists that the Bantustans are indepen- 
dent and economically self-sufficient. As part of 
a series of expensive newspaper supplements 
placed in the U.S. press, one New York Times 
advertisement in the late seventies claimed that 
"six of the Black nations living in South Africa 
already have local self-government in their 
historical homelands," and that "the per capita 
income of the Xhosa nation (Transkei) and of 
the Zulu nation (kwaZulu) — both Bantustans — 
is considerably higher than that of many in- 
dependent African countries." 

These claims, intended to elicit support from 
U.S. racists and separatists, are misleading. So- 
called "self-government" for these reservations 
for Black Africans is a fraud. For instance, 
although the Transkei has had "self-govern- 
ment" for almost 25 years, the national white 
minority government holds all power. The Tran- 
skei Legislative Assembly cannot discuss major 
questions, and all decisions, no matter how 
trivial, must be approved by Pretoria. The Board 
of the Xhosa Development Corporation, which 
is responsible for the economic development of 
the Transkei, includes no representative of the 
Transkei government. 

The bantustans are totally incapable of sup- 
porting their inhabitants. To survive, those who 
can must seek migrant labor contracts and spend 
most of their lives separated from their families. 
In the past 20 years, 3.5 million people have been 
uprooted from their homes in areas designated 
"white." Two million are now under the threat 
of removal. A total of 5. 5 million, more than the 




The art reproduced in these pages, part ot 
the Art Against Apartheid campaign, helps 
spread the word about the anti-apartheid 
struggle. Above: "Take One," by Emma Amos. 

Courtesy Art Against Apartheid 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



of South Africa 




total white population in the country, will be 
relocated under this merciless act. As for living 
standards, the per capita income of the Xhosa 
people, for instance, is approximately $42 a 
month, the maximum average paid to unskilled 
workers in the Transkei. Even the village heads, 
or chiefs, receive between $18 and $53 a month. 

Actually, the government's propaganda 
about the "homelands" conceals the important 
fact that only about seven million of South 
Africa's 16 million Blacks reside on these reser- 
vations. The other nine million live in the 
misnamed "white" areas, where they out- 
number four million whites and two million In- 
dians and other Asian people. The government 
emphasizes the "homelands" theme to support 
its false claim that European and Black African 
settlers reached South Africa at about the same 
time, and the "homelands" or Bantustans were 
the only areas ever settled by Black Africans. But 
this contradicts documented history and ethnol- 
ogy. Stone ruins of the ancient kraals of Black 
Africans date from six centuries before the first 
Europeans arrived and still stretch across the 
gold-rich Transvaal and Orange Free State. 

In South Africa, labor is cheap and profits 
high. South Africa's apartheid policies are based 
on the demand for large pools of cheap labor. 
With such labor readily available, the vast 
mineral resources can be tapped for the benefit 
of white South African capital and foreign inves- 
tors. In diamond mining, the industry where 
most Blacks are employed, the average monthly 
wage for Black workers is $260; the average wage 
for white workers is $ 1 ,290. Africans who do this 
work are permitted to remain in the white areas 
where every movement is governed by a maze of 
laws. One very durable law — the "Organiza- 
tional Movement and Settlement of Black Per- 
sons Act," enacted in various forms since 
1960 — strips Blacks and other people of color of 
any human rights concerning where they live. 
Blacks can be forcibly removed from their 
homes, often with little advance warning and 
severe penalties for disobedience. The regime's 
goal is to gradually unload South Africa's Blacks 
onto bantustans, all of which will eventually be 
called "independent." In reality, this means that 
Africans will be stripped of their nationality and 
arbitrarily classified as citizens of fictitious coun- 
tries on the basis of their ethnic ancestry, even if 
they have never visited the bantustans. 

Aside from the shocking equation — 87 per- 
cent of the most productive land reserved for 18 
percent of the people, with the more barren 14 
percent set aside for the 72 percent Black ma- 
jority — the government's justification for this 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



division rests on the main tenet of apartheid: the 
differences between the races are fixed by 
Almighty God for eternity, and these differences 
must be maintained by separation of the races. 

An increased militancy has erupted in the ban- 
tustans, protesting the substandard health con- 
ditions and facilities that rural residents endure 
and the inferior educational system for Black 
children. A backlash against the many local 
chieftains, who are merely puppet agents hand- 
picked by the government to maintain the apart- 
heid structure by presiding over a sham as- 
sembly, has prompted them to desert their posts 
to save their own skins. They are viewed as 
traitors, and many have been publicly condemn- 
ed and even mysteriously killed. But unified pro- 
tests against these conditions have brought 
government retaliations to the bantustans, in the 
form of severe and arbitrary rent and utility in- 
creases: more of the same misery at a higher 
price. 

Under South Africa's Internal Security Act of 
1982, any person can be held in detention in- 
definitely without trial or formal charges. The 
government can automatically outlaw any or- 
ganization it says threatens the public order. The 
government can stop the printing and distribu- 
tion of any periodical or newspaper. The govern- 
ment can enforce random police searches. In the 
last five years, and especially during the last two, 
the government has escalated its war game of us- 
ing the resettlement policy, banning orders (any 
person can be exiled from his or her home in- 
definitely and may never be in the company of 
more than one person at a time), influx control 
laws (which punish the illegal passage of Blacks 
from the rural to the urban areas to find work; 
since 1916 more than 18 million people have been 
detained for this "crime"), or failure to produce 
the passbook that all Blacks over 16 must carry at 
all times, with records of employment, permits 
to enter white areas, and a description of family 
status. 

Black workers have stepped up their waves of 
organized protests with illegal stikes and shut- 
downs, mass demonstrations, and major con- 
frontations with the South African police, the 
most repressive and well-equipped in the world. 
From September to November 1984 about 150 
people were killed at Sebokengs; 225 people in 
February 1985 at Crooroads, and at Langas in 
March 1985, 45 people were killed exactly 25 
years after the Sharpeville massacre, where fr9 
defenseless people were shot down and 180 
wounded in a peaceful march against the pass 
law system. 

A state of emergency was declared in July 
THE INDEPENDENT 17 



1985. And with it, an inevitable twist has 
developed in the strategy of South African war- 
fare: bloody and murderous raids on "soft 
targets" — residential areas that are branded 
suspect headquarters for "rebel" leaders. In late 
summer 1985, the men, women, and children of 
the Gabarone township were bombed in their 
sleep, their homes burned to the ground. Many 
who managed to survive were tortured. In these 
instances, the government unleashes its mighty 
army, which along with the police and special 
commando units, totals about 275,000. In addi- 
tion to the 700 who have died in the last year, 
almost 3,000 people have been detained since the 
state of emergency was announced. Thousands 
more have been arrested, including most leaders 
of the United Democratic Front, a nonracial 
alliance at the forefront of the anti-apartheid 
protest; members of the Congress of South 
African Students, a militant high school 
organization; and suspected members or friends 
of the banned African National Congress, the 
recognized cultural, political, and spiritual 
leader of the liberation movement in South 
Africa. 

The ANC was founded in January 1912 "to 
defend Africans against repression." In the early 
years, its orientation was reformist rather than 
revolutionary, and it tried to achieve its goals 
through legal political action only. In 1961, 
Nelson Mandela, a leader of the group, formed 
Umkhonto We Sizwe, which means Spear of the 
Nation in Zulu, the ANC's military wing that 
began a campaign of sabotage against "the sym- 
bols of apartheid." When South African police 
discovered its underground headquarters in 
1963, the principal ANC leaders were arrested, 
and Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. For 
the past two decades, international governments 
and renowned citizens have petitioned South 
Africa for release of this revered leader, but the 
government has been steadfast in its refusal. 
During the many periods of unrest last summer, 
the government offered Mandela a release if he 
agreed to disavow violence and leave South 
Africa. But he is as steadfast in denouncing the 
apartheid system now as he was in 1964, and re- 
mains behind bars. 

After the Sharpeville and Soweto massacres in 
the sixties, the ANC developed a more revolu- 
tionary program within South Africa to defend 
itself and the oppressed majority against the per- 
vasive militarism of the South African govern- 
ment. The role of armed struggle in the libera- 
tion of South Africa has been criticized by many 
on principle. But all cultures, in some way, con- 
done the use of physical violence for self- 
defense. To deny the right of the Black majority 
in South Africa to use violence in its fight against 
the extremely degrading conditions of apartheid 
is to deny a most fundamental human right — the 
right to defend one's family and oneself against 
assault. The forces fighting for a nonracial socie- 
ty, that is, a democracy for all South African 



people regardless of race, color, or creed, relied 
on nonviolent methods for over half a century 
and only resorted to armed struggle after it 
became clear that the government would make 
no concessions to peaceful protest. Against this 
historical background of oppression, fear, 
flagrant violations of rights to health care, 
education, employment, and even the right of 
self-defense, the people of South Africa battle 
for liberation and the destruction of apartheid. 



Over the last 30 years, the United Nations has 
sweated volumes of resolutions attempting to 
impose limited sanctions against South Africa. 
In 1968, the U.N. General Assembly adopted 
Resolution 2396, requesting "all states and 
organizations to suspend cultural, educational, 
sporting and other exchanges with the racist 

regime "A 1980 resolution appealed directly 

to "writers, artists, musicians, and others to 
boycott South Africa" for the first time. It plac- 
ed a cultural boycott in the context of a total 
campaign to isolate the South African govern- 
ment internationally. The cultural boycott is 
designed as a tactical weapon to destabilize 
South Africa's access to cultural enrichment in 
the world. 

Those of us who comprehend the boycott's 
strategic importance criticize the artists who are 
unwilling to deploy a political weapon that can 
destabilize apartheid. We don't accept the argu- 
ment that this is an amputation of cultural ex- 
changes that might magically stimulate oppress- 
ed people to victory. Still, it's clear that there are 
many artists who do not understand apartheid or 
its political apparatus. Filmmakers who send 
their films to festivals in South Africa, presum- 
ing that South Africans will benefit from our 
culture, cast themselves as liberal mechanics who 
blindly refuel a bad and worn-out machine. If 
you perform in South Africa, send your work 
there, or participate in cultural or educational 
exchange programs, you deny the priorities of 
the liberation struggle and the international anti- 
apartheid movement: the right of self-deter- 
mination for the South African people and the 
total isolation of the South African government 
to achieve that right. The cultural boycott is a 
pivotal move toward those ends. However, like 
other, related anti-apartheid strategies — the 
sports boycott and the divestment cam- 
paign — the cultural boycott encounters for- 
midable opposition. 

At the heart of the isolation strategy, the 
cultural boycott has been devalued and its goals 
undermined by the South African propaganda 
machine. Efforts to placate apartheid have con- 
centrated on placing ads in the western media, 
particularly in the U.S. and Britain. In 
1984-1985 alone, millions were spent on public 
relations campaigns that misrepresent apartheid 
and the challenges to it, both inside and outside 





"Swapo I," by Kathy Deacon. 

Courtesy Art Against Apartheid 

the country. Representative of the South Africa 
consulate in New York City, Abe Hoppenstein, 
has hopped from radio to TV to newspapers 
defending petty reforms and their promises, and 
assailing actions like divestiture and the cultural 
boycott. His objective is to preserve the status 
quo at any cost. 

The cultural boycott in the U.S. has affected 
the attitudes of big-name personalities who were 
once hooked on South Africa, but after ex- 
posure, took the pledge. If the moral argument 
against apartheid failed to convince an artist or 



18 



THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



■"■'■■■■'■■'■ ' " ■■■,.■■■■■■■■ w'';<Vw:-'.C v >-W '-:v- '■■■■'. /■'«::.,.,:■. '■'" 




athlete — the two big prizes in apartheid eyes — to 
forfeit collaboration by not performing, these 
boycott busters would end up losers at the box 
office or the gate. Singer Stephanie Mills is the 
best example of a well-known artist who took 
money for performing in South Africa and then 
ran back to the U.S., invoking her "right as a 
free agent in the marketplace." But the rising 
heat of domestic condemnation burned her at 
the box office and record stores. Eventually this 
pressure forced her to reconsider and make a 
public apology. Conversely, international enter- 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



tainers Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder 
wouldn't court South Africa for the $2.5 million 
and $5 million offered, respectively, because 
their opposition to apartheid could not be 
bought off. 

Sometimes, however, the effort to win sup- 
port for the cultural boycott over the years has 
been haphazard and nearsighted. For example, 
there has been a dearth of educational programs 
for the public outside of the constituencies of 
organizations like churches, trade unions, 
political groups, and narrow venues of cultural 
exchange. The same groups have historically 
represented the bulk of the small but growing 
anti-apartheid movement in this country, and 
consequently have faced gargantuan limitations. 
The realities of no money, no resources, no 
organizational or administrative planning, no 
media expertise — or very little — have hindered 
the boycott's overall success. 

But, in the last five years, there has been a 
steady surge of participation among profes- 
sionals and cultural workers in music, dance, 
and the visual, literary, and media arts. A 
welcome blossoming of organizations and coali- 
tions speak directly to artists with different levels 
of influence and spunk. Some of these include 
the organization Artists and Athletes against 
Apartheid and the Art Against Apartheid cam- 
paigns in the U.S., as well as various ad hoc 
groups endorsed by the U.N. Special Committee 
against Apartheid. 

Some credit for the spreading support for the 
cultural boycott in the U.S. should be given to 
the visibility of artists like Harry Belafonte, who 
has spoken out against apartheid for decades 
and has spearheaded many campaigns and the 
commitment of those like Stevie Wonder and 
Roberta Flack. Their actions have helped con- 
vince other celebrities and artists who want to 
take an active stand against apartheid. Also, the 
growing divestment campaigns that have taken 
root on college campuses and in church 
basements, union halls and state and city 
legislatures around the country have contributed 
to the goals of the cultural boycott and the anti- 
apartheid movement as a whole. 

The South African government is suffocating 
because of its isolation. One of its cultural 
diamonds in the rough, the Durban Film Festival, 
testifies to its fear of international ostracism. 
Festival director Ros Sarkin, the wife of a 
distinguished South African surgeon, is repre- 
sented in an interview in the Journal of the South 
African Film and Television Technicians Associ- 
ation as one of the most sacrificing film pioneers. 
According to this article, she has almost 
singlehandedly enlarged her humble film festival 
from an event with seven films to a major South 
African cultural affair in seven years. Durban 
"sells some 40,000 tickets. . . show[ing] about 50 
films from all over the world," according to 
another article in the SAFTTA Journal. Indeed, 
1985, the year of the most public activity around 



the cultural boycott and the call to end apart- 
heid, has been Sarkin's best. This spring the 
Durban Festival received "a record number of 
U.S. entries," according to an article in the New 
York Times. The kind of publicity that Sarkin's 
festival can generate in the Times legitimates 
apartheid and diffuses international pressure at a 
time when pressure is critical. And her festival 
helps the South African government's PR cam- 
paign to camouflage its policy of exploitation 
and cultural domination at home. 

Sarkin was praised in the SAFTTA Journal for 
"making considerable attempts" in the Durban 
Townships "to arrange screenings and discis- 
sions in places accessible to those without 
transport." In addition to providing transport 
from the townships to the main university site, 
Sarkin trots her festivals to the townships to 
show films in places where she has special ar- 
rangements with local organizations. But her 
"considerable attempts" means that she also 
shows her films to segregated audiences in the 
townships. She explains in the SAFTTA inter- 
view how she manages to get access to facilities 
for the festivals by persuading her all-Black com- 
mittees to mediate for her with local authorities. 
This means that Sarkin gets preferential use of 
facilities that the Black people who live in the 
township never get to use at all. 

Derek Malcom, a film critic for the London 
Guardian, who is critical of Sarkin's festival but 
supports its good intentions, identifies the facil- 
ity she used in Umlazi, "one of the gaunt and 
crowded black townships that provide Durban 
with cheap labor," as "Mangosothu Technikon, 
a huge, superbly designed college for Africans 
through which the regime seeks to create a Black 
middle class able eventually to buttress Afrikan- 
erdom with a vested interest in the status quo." 
Ironically, the film Sarkin selected to screen in 
Umlazi was Tomas Gutierrez Alea's The Last 
Supper. 

The Durban Festival also receives preferential 
treatment from the censors. Entries are shown 
under a special dispensation from the Direc- 
torate of Publications and Entertainments, 
which determines what films will be banned or 
cut. Many films and publications have been ban- 
ned because they are critical of or antagonistic 
toward apartheid. Oppositional filmmakers in 
South Africa have developed underground film 
distribution systems for their work because they 
know they would never get past the censors. But 
Sarkin has no such worries. She affirms, "The 
Durban Film Festival has over the years demon- 
strated that it is an event which is dedicated to 
showing films of an artistic and cultural nature 
which has in certain cases, I believe, prompted 
the Director of Publications to allow us certain 
exemptions." It is the state that allows Sarkin's 
festival to proceed uninterrupted, because it pro- 
vides valuable publicity for the government's 
"reforms," while the daily practice of apartheid 
continues unabated. 

THE INDEPENDENT 19 




"Mercenaries (V), " by Leon Golub. 

Courtesy artist photo David Reynolds 



The apartheid government champions Sar- 
kin's festival, financially supports it, and gladly 
relaxes its standards to strike a dual coup: bask- 
ing in the short but sweet spotlight of world 
media recognition and successfully sabotaging 
an international campaign. Festivals like 
Sarkin's give credence to the government's false 
image as a cultivated sponsor of the arts and 
allows it to flaunt its white supremacy on the 
global stage. The money that helps to pay for this 
festival — and any other state supported 
event — comes from the criminal exploitation of 
Black workers. There is no dividing line between 
this festival of apartheid and the apartheid 
system itself. 

The cultural boycott continues despite in- 
dependent producers who place the value of a 
film festival over the value of peoples' lives. It is 
precisely because culture plays such a critical role 
in the politics of apartheid — how South Africa 
manipulates its own cultural assets to its political 
advantage — that makes the cultural boycott and 
support for it so vital. The cultural boycott alone 
will never break apartheid, and yet it presents an 

20 THE INDEPENDENT 



opportunity for individual artists to make a con- 
tribution to the struggle for its destruction, not 
its reform. By refusing to collaborate in any 
cultural activity the South African government 
sponsors, an artist gives weight to a moral com- 
mitment and recognizes Black South Africans' 
desires to enrich their own identities after 
decades of cultural domination. 

Instead of giving your life's work over to apart- 
heid, consider the alternatives: 

• Produce educational programs that address 
the cultural boycott and apartheid system. Bring 
together experts on the boycott, organizations 
involved in the anti-apartheid movement, critics, 
and people who have lived under apartheid. 

• Work with a community or artist group to 
sponsor a series of films or videotapes that pro- 
vide an analysis of the background of the South 
African liberation movement or the develop- 
ment and rise of the labor movement among 
South African workers and their allies. The op- 
pressed people of South Africa do not get their 
ideas about freedom from films. They know 



what-they're doing. We are the ones playing 
catch-up. 

• There are many organizations that focus on 
the apartheid issue and the cultural boycott. The 
American Committee on Africa in New York Ci- 
ty and the Washington, D.C. -based lobby for 
African affairs, TransAfrica, have information 
and speakers' bureaus that can put you in touch 
with others in the U.S. working to end apar- 
theid. Also, the U.N. Special Committee against 
Apartheid sponsors and endorses both small and 
large programs. 

• The money that you would spend to ship a film 
via UPS to South Africa could pay for copying 
and mailing program notices to your friends. 

Charlayne Haynes is an arts and media producer 
who lives in Brooklyn. 

© Charlayne Haynes 1986 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



FESTIVALS 



NORTHWEST PASSAGE: 

THE SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 



Coco Fusco 



Before their films were chosen for the 10th an- 
nual Seattle International Film Festival, held last 
spring from May 9 through June 10, Kerouac's 
John Antonelli and Heartbreakers's Bobby 
Roth were directors with common predica- 
ments. Antonelli was frustrated by several failed 
attempts to find a distributor, while Roth, who 
was already working with Orion, was 
disappointed by the distributor's lack of interest 
in his film. Then Kerouac was spotted by a Seat- 
tle festival representative at Filmex. The subse- 
quent favorable audience response at the north- 
western festival led to Kerouac's opening at the 
city's Grand Illusion theater, where it ran for five 
weeks. In a similar manner, Seattle theater 
owner and one of the festival's three directors 
Darryl Macdonald saw Heartbreakers at the 
Berlin Film Festival. His business partner and 
fellow festival director Dan Ireland explained 
that they both liked the film so much they design- 
ed a new publicity campaign for it and opened it 
at their own Egyptian Theatre, where it played to 
enthusiastic crowds for 14 weeks. "It's a worth- 
while festival," commented Antonelli. "Seattle 
is reported on in Variety, which helped us line up 
other cities." Roth, whose film will soon be aired 
on cable television, agreed with Antonelli's 
assessment, adding, "Seattle is agreat film town. 
You'll never have a better, more educated au- 
dience with nontraditional taste." 

According to Jeff Dowd, the third in the 
triumvirate of directors, the three have refined 
the programming strategy over the last decade. 
When they began, all of them were running thea- 
ters in Seattle (Dowd has since moved to Los 
Angeles). "We had to figure out a way to get 
these films into our theaters," he said. "We 
wanted to take the festival in a certain direction, 
launching films locally and nationally. Pro- 
ducers now seek us out. We absolutely use that 
festival to make specialized films more economi- 
cally viable." Ireland observed that the industry 
uses the festival to test films about which they're 
not sure. Seattle audiences are known for their 
"broad taste," he added, and representatives 
from Island Alive, Cinecom, New World, 
MGM, and a few West Coast festivals come to 
screenings to witness viewer reactions. In addi- 
tion, many call after screenings for reports. The 
Seattle festival overlaps with Cannes, which ac- 
counts for scanty attendance by other festival 
representatives, but Dowd claims that some peo- 
ple attend both. 

A number of independents testified to the 




benefits of an appearance in Seattle. Although 
the five-week event did not directly result in any 
on-the-spot deals with distributors for Henry 
Jaglom's Always, the warm reception it received 
ultimately helped him sign with Goldwyn. Dan 
Bessie, the maker of Hard Travelling, sent a flyer 
with the results of a Seattle audience question- 
naire to distributors and got responses from 
several majors. The Silent Pioneers, a film by 
Lucy Winer, Patricia Giniger Snyder, and Paula 
de Koenigsberg, will be appearing at Seattle's 
Neptune Theatre. On the Edge director Rob 
Nilsson claimed that the presence of Dowd, who 
is a producer's rep and Sundance Institute board 
member, as well as principal scout for U.S. films 
for Seattle, was reason enough to attend. When 
Dowd was asked if his many jobs represented a 
conflict of interest, he answered flatly, "No. We 
have to fill 150 slots. If I'm representing a film 
and it's good, we'll put it in." 

While Discovery Weekend turns attention to 
independent U.S. films looking for theatrical 
release, the festival continues to live up to its 
reputation as a springboard for international art 
cinema. This year's premieres featured the U.S. 
opening of Kiss of the Spider Woman and the in- 
troduction of several Dutch films, including the 
world premiere of Paul Verhoeven's Flesh and 
Blood. Films from 31 countries were screened in 
the main showcase; the United States, 
represented by 32 films, had the largest number 
of entries. Sidebar programs included an evening 
of short films, a festival retrospective, a tribute 
to Nicholas Roeg, and outer space and midnight 
movie series. The mixture of "high art," kitsch, 
and documentary, explained assistant director 
Gary Tucker, reflects the tastes of the individual 
programmers/directors. But the fact that the 
festival depends on the box office to break even 
also affects their selection. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



Golden anniversary 
couple Gean Harwood 
and Bruhs Mero, pic- 
tured here in the 1940s, 
are profiled in "The Si- 
lent Pioneers," screened 
at the Seattle Film Fes- 
tival. 
Photo: Patricia Giniger Snyaet 

For many independent films, Dowd observed, 
the Seattle festival represents their first public 
screening. In 1985, 300 films were viewed before 
the selection was narrowed to 156. Although the 
directors do not refuse unsolicited submissions, 
all the filmmakers interviewed said their films 
were invited after being seen at places like 
Filmex, the U.S. Film Festival, Berlin, and 
private screenings in Los Angeles. "We have a 
network and we listen," Dowd explained, noting 
that the directors look for films that "go to some 
extreme. Interesting, nice — that's not what 
we're looking for. No slice of life films. Many in- 
dependents tell stories that should be poems or 
short stories, not movies." 

To gear up for the event, Nancy Locke, a 
three-year veteran of the festival staff, or- 
chestrates a publicity effort that begins many 
weeks in advance. Last year specially designed 
flyers were sent to women's groups, gay com- 
munity organizations, and other target groups. 
In an attempt to help three films that did not 
have distributors, a separate mailing about 
Discovery Weekend went to 60 distributors. Local 
television and press coverage, Locke said, was 
constant and, indeed, several of the filmmakers 
arrived to find that three or four interviews had 
been set up for them. The emphasis of publicity is 
on introducing filmmakers rather than film re- 
views. "This is a big event in Seattle," she explain- 
ed. "TV and radio stations call us." 

For the first time last year. Golden Space Nee- 
dle Awards were given on the basis of audience 
ballots. Flesh and Blood took first prize, while 
Heartbreakers came in second. The atmosphere 
at the festival was informal and relaxed, a mood 
enhanced by the near absence of compel it ion. 
"We're not uptight and business suit oriented," 
said Tucker. Organized activities tor filmmakers 
were few and, as visits usually lasted two or three 

THE INDEPENDENT 21 



days, many of those who attended felt that the 
multi-week festival was too spread out for them 
to meet anyone. But when several filmmakers 
and industry biggies arrived in one weekend, an 
impromptu party was thrown in their honor. Los 
Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson hosted a 
seminar on film criticism focusing on Cutter's 
Way, and Henry Dean Stanton participated in a 
question and answer period after an evening 
tribute to his work. 

Beyond publicity, material support for par- 
ticipating filmmakers was as varied as the tastes 
of the programmers. Some filmmakers and ac- 
tors were flown in and provided with accom- 
modations, while others only received accom- 
modations. And some, like the short film section 
participants, were left to fend for themselves. "It 
depends on the budget," said Ireland. "Last year 
we brought in 50 people, and we spent half our 
budget on it. If we're crazy about a movie, we'll 
bring in the filmmaker." Those who did attend 
praised the volunteer hospitality committees 
who worked with them. 

Films were shown simultaneously at the Egyp- 
tian and Market Theatres, but no one complain- 
ed about the overlap. Except for one projector 
mix-up, there were no serious technical prob- 
lems. And even the victim of the projector acci- 
dent, Jeff Townsend, was full of praise. Dowd 
had seen his short film Landscape with a 
Waitress in Los Angeles and persuaded the other 
festival directors to extend submission deadlines 
for him. Having paid his way to the festival with 
birthday money from his parents, Townsend ar- 
rived to find out that his film had been given an 
extra screening. Judging from his experience and 
that of many others there, the main bonus of a 
festival like Seattle is that the good will of a few 
benevolent directors goes a long way. 

Deadline: March 15, 1986. Tentative festival 
dates: May 8-June 8, 1986. Features should be 
over 60 minutes, shorts under 20. No fee. For- 
mat: 16mm and 35mm, though 35mm is prefer- 
red. 3 A ", VHS, and Betamax accepted for 
preselection. Festival will pay for return shipping 
of all video entries and those film entries that are 
shown at the festival. Write for entry forms and 
send prints, tapes, and promotional material to 
the Seattle International Film Festival, Egyptian 
Theatre, 810 E. Pine St., Seattle, WA 98122; 
(206) 324-9996. 

Coco Fusco is a New York City-based freelance 
writer who specializes in film. 

TEN AND COUNTING: THE 
NEW ENGLAND FILM 
FESTIVAL 

In 1976 the New England Film Festival was a 
small screening of local filmmakers held in a not 
very glamorous Amherst barn. Last year, the 

22 THE INDEPENDENT 



10th anniversary of the event, participants in this 
regional showcase were covered in the leading 
regional daily, the Boston Globe, and took part 
in a splashy awards presentation in Boston. Co- 
sponsored by the Arts Extension Service at the 
University of Massachusetts and the Boston 
Film/Video Foundation, the festival has retained 
its strong regional flavor while beginning to ex- 
perience a few of the organizational growing 
pains that come with expansion. 

As evidence of the festival's commitment to 
area producers, applicants must have resided in 
one of the six New England states for at least one 
year prior to their applications, including the 
time during which their films were produced. 
Otherwise, the two judging categories — inde- 
pendent and student — are inclusive, and these 
broadly defined divisions have worked to the ad- 
vantage of stylistically innovative and mixed- 
genre films. As one of last year's judges, film- 
maker St. Clair Bourne, remarked, "I was sur- 
prised at the variety of films coming out of this 
one region." However, if the festival continues 
to grow, direct competition between works of 
varied lengths, genres, and budget sizes may 
create problems for the panel of judges, which in 
1985 also included Film Forum director Karen 
Cooper and experimental filmmaker and teacher 
Abbott Meader. 

The event's regional eclecticism was evident in 
the broad range of styles and techniques of last 
year's award- winning films. James Becket's dra- 
matic film about the world refugee crisis, Sanc- 
tuary, received the Best of Festival award. Other 
awards went to Choosing Children, a documen- 
tary by Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner about 
lesbians deciding to become parents and Vacant 
Lot, by Ken Selden and Kate Davis, a film com- 
bining documentary and narrative techniques to 
portray one day in the life of three teenage boys. 
Enrique Oliver's Photo Album, a delightfully 
idiosyncratic essay about his Cuban heritage and 
the difficulties of cultural assimilation, received 
a prize for best student film. In all, awards of 
$2,500 were given to the four winning films, plus 
three honorable mentions. The seven films then 
toured five New England cities, attracting an 
estimated 5,000 viewers. As the number of en- 
tries increases, the festival coordinators expect 
the number of awards and screenings to increase 
as well. 

It is interesting to note that of the award- 
winning films, all but Vacant Lot were first-time 
efforts. Clearly, the organizers have not up- 
graded the festival at the expense of smaller, 
lesser-known independents. Explains Pam Kor- 
za, one of the festival coordinators, "We want to 
be sure the festival continues to be a forum for 
experimentation and creative work for the small- 
budget filmmaker, not only for the high-budget 
filmmaker." 

Some independents have expressed concern 
about the absence of Super-8 at the festival, 
despite its presence on the entry form. One 
reason may be the requirement that films have 



an optical soundtrack — a virtual impossibility for 
the format that may help cause the relative 
paucity of Super-8 entries. According to Korza, 
the coordinators have considered reducing the 
entry fee for Super-8 or awarding a separate 
prize in this category to encourage submissions. 
However, no decisions have yet been made re- 
garding next year's event. 

— Deborah Lefkowitz 

Submission deadline is March 1. Festival screen- 
ings take place in May and June. Entries of film 
transferred to video are accepted, but winners 
must supply a film print for Festival screenings. 
Entry fee for independents is $20 plus $10 for 
each additional film; $10 per film for students. 
For more information or an entry form, contact 
Pam Korza at NEFF, Arts Extension Service, 
Division of Continuing Education, University of 
Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003; (413) 
545-2360. 

Deborah Lefkowitz is a Boston-based indepen- 
dent filmmaker and a 1982 NEFF award-winner. 



THE WIZARD OF OZ: THE 
SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 

Rod Webb, director and programmer for the 
33rd annual Sydney Film Festival to be held in 
June, will be screening work by U.S. filmmakers 
at AIVF/FIVF offices from March 2-6. Over 
the past two years Webb has selected 15 to 20 
U.S. shorts, narrative features, and documen- 
taries for the 50-feature event. Titles have includ- 
ed Before Stonewall, Dance Black America, The 
Great Wierton Steal, In the Name of the People, 
Hotel New York, The Times of Harvey Milk, 
Style' Wars, Stranger Than Paradise, Seeing 
Red, Conversations with Roy DeCarava, and 
others. Many films have their premieres at the 
festival prior to theatrical openings in Sydney, a 
la the New York Film Festival, while for others, a 
successful festival screening can generate interest 
from Australian nontheatrical distributors. Both 
Burroughs and Hotel New York were acquired 
after Sydney. 

Audiences vote for the most popular film 
awards, in the style of Toronto's Festival of 
Festivals. Harvey Milk came in fifth in 1985 after 
the French My New Partner, Alan Parker's Bir- 
dy, Marleen Gorris's Broken Mirrors, and the 
Norwegian Orion's Belt. Variety covered the 
festival extensively in three issues last year, 
noting that "the event has been humming along 
like clockwork." Guests last year included 
Kryzstof Zanussi, Peter Weir, Michael York, 
Robert Epstein, and Gorris, while distributors 
and exhibitors included Academy Twin's Leon 
Boyle and Fred O'Brien and Lyn McCarthy, 
owners of the movie house The Dendy. Atten- 
dance figures were down somewhat in 1985 after 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



a succession of annual sell-outs, but movie fare 
was as strong as ever. Some films get invited to 
the Melbourne Film Festival, which begins on 
the heels of Sydney. 

Webb is interested in 35mm and 16mm works 
of the highest quality and production values that 
present the best of international art cinema. His 
preferences, and those of the Australian film au- 
dience, are either committed, hard-hitting docu- 
mentaries or highly entertaining ones. He is 
equally interested in features, as well as shorts to 
program before them. And like audiences at 
most European events, Australian film-goers are 
put off by voice-over translations or narration 
and other effects that smack of TV-style produc- 
tion. In view of the severely limited opportunities 
and minimal pay offered by U.S. television for 
documentaries, U.S. makers will hopefully 
abandon these concessions to TV production 
techniques as well as the otherwise arbitrary 
58:50 running time. 

— Robert Aaronson 

Submit work on film, 3 A ", or VHS transfers to 
Sydney Film Festival, c/o FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. Include title, running 
time, production credits, and SASE for applica- 
tion. Fee for shipping and handling to and from 
FIVF is $20 for all formats. Deadline: February 
15. Checks only, payable to FIVF. For informa- 
tion, contact Robert Aaronson, FIVF, (212) 
473-3400. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Robert Aaronson and Judith Radler. 
Listings do not constitute an endorsement, 
and since some details change faster than 
we do, we recommend that you contact 
the festival for further information before 
sending prints or tapes. If your experience 
differs from our account, please let us know 
so we can improve our reliablity. 

DOMESTIC 



• ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL, March 11-16, 
MI. 24th annual competition screens about 100 films 
over 30 hrs. Prize money totals about $5,000 with 
each judge responsible for awarding about 1/3. In 
1984 the $1,000 Tom Berman Award for the "most 
promising filmmaker" was given to DeMott/Kreines 
for Seventeen. Tour of selected films follows fest. 
According to director Ruth Bradely, they "program 
as much as possible," which amounts to half of what 
is submitted. 16mm only. Any subject, genre, length. 
Fee: $17. Deadline: Feb. 18. Contact Ann Arbor Film 
Festival, Box 8232, Ann Arbor, MI 48107; (313) 
663-6494. 

• ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, June, New York City. Presented by 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



NYC media center Asian CineVision (which was re- 
cently represented by a 5-hour retrospective at the 
Cinema Giovanni Festival in Turin, Italy). 1986 will 
be the ninth year for this 5-day event. Non-competi- 
tive, the purpose of the festival is to showcase new 
work by Asian American filmmakers, as well as to in- 
troduce Asian films to U.S. audiences. Approx. 30 
films were submitted last year by Asian American 
filmmakers. Out of 19 films presented, 9 were 
American productions & 4 were a special program 
from the Asian American Media Center Visual Com- 
munications in LA. Others came from Japan, the 
Philippines, Hong Kong, China, India & Taiwan. 
American independent work incl. Ang Lee's Fine 
Line, Curtis Choy's Fall of the I Hotel, Steven O. 
Kazakis's Unfinished Business. A portion of the 
festival program goes on a 15-city tour after screen- 
ings at New York's Rosemary Theater. Filmmaker 
Steven Ning was the coordinator of last year's Asian 
American selection committee & ACV director Peter 
Chow coordinated the selection of Asian films. 
Casey Lum was the festival director. No fee. 
Deadline: Feb. Format: 16mm & 35mm only. Con- 
tact ACV, 32 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002; 
(212)925-8685. 

• ATHENS INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 
25-May 3, OH. 13th annual event devoted to the 
power & possibility of independent filmmaking. Last 
year 24 films representing 10 countries premiered at 
the festival, including The Brother from Another 
Planet; programmed in the evenings, these films were 
well attended. The presentation was rounded out by 
guest appearances (incl. independent filmmaker Les 
Blank) & competition screenings. Winners in each 
category receive the Golden Athena award, at discre- 
tion of judges. Best of Fest winners for a feature 
documentary in 1985 were Muffett Kaufman's 
Choosing Victory, the stories of 5 wheelchair 
athletes' strivings to compete in the '84 Summer 
Olympics and Tony Silver's Style Wars, an account 
of NYC's graffiti artists, the hip hop culture of rap & 
breakdancing. Athens is a small college town, offer- 
ing an ideal environment for an involved yet casual 
discussions on film. Bob Aaronson, a festival judge 
in '85, says, "Athens really grew on me & by the time 
it was over, I didn't want to leave." Deadline: Feb. 
14. Fees (varying according to length): $10-$65. 
Contact Athens Center for Film and Video, Box 338, 
Athens, OH 45701; (614) 594-6888. 

• ATLANTA FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
April, GA. 1986 will be the 10th anniversary for this 
competititon presented by the IMAGE Film/Video 
Center, in association with the High Museum of Art. 
Last year's program incl. "New Technologies/New 
Music" (films: Metal Dogs of India, Futuropolis; 
Videos: Life on Mars, Pop-Up); "Video: Black In- 
dependents" (Mary Neemah Barnette, Rachel 
Rosenthal); "Video: American Subcultures" (For- 
bidden Rebel, Ozone Stories); "Film: Judges' Choice 
(Louie Bluie, The Visitor); "Video: Confronting Per- 
sonal Issues (Trick or Drink, Private Practices); 
"Film: Light and Dark" (Travelling Light, Death 
and the Singing Telegram); "Southern Independents 
'85," "An Evening with Michael Smith" & "Film: 
Tall Tales." Approx. 40 works exhibited in all, rang- 
ing from 2 min. to 120 min. Cash prizes went to Pri- 
vate Practices, Forbidden Rebels, Writing on Water, 
Death and the Singing Telegram, Low Visibility, 
Growing Up with Rockets & others. This year's 
judges include Loni Ding, Michael Fleishman, Kathy 
Huffman & Marty Newell. Special theme for 10th 
anniversary is "Southern Independents"; special 
programs & retrospectives planned. Categories: 
dramatic, experimental, documentary, animation. 
Formats: V* ", VHS & Beta, S-8 & 16mm. Fees: 
$20-$35. $5,000 in total cash prizes awarded. 
Deadline: February 1 1 . Contact IMAGE Film/Video 
Center, 972 Peachtree St., Ste. 213, Atlanta, GA 



Public 
Broadcasting 

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CPB Public Broadcasting Directory. Ji 

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30309, attn: Linda Dubler; (404) 874-4756. 

• BALTIMORE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL/IN- 
DEPENDENT FILMMAKER COMPETITION, 
April, MD. Last year this festival received about 100 
submissions for $300, $200 & $75 prizes in anima- 
tion, documentary, dramatic & experimental 
categories, according to director & programmer 
Brent Berwager of the Baltimore Museum of Art. 
Winners included Jimmy Picker, Sundae in New 
York; Nina Rosenblum, America and Lewis Hine; 
Cynthia Scott, Flamenco at 5:15; Henry Jesionka, 
Resurrected Fields; James Duesing, Impetigo; Nancy 
Savoca, Bad Timing; Don North, Guazapa & others. 
U.S. features in the international section included 
Old Enough & Secret Honor. Charles Samu 
presented an animation selection & opening night 
was a homage to Stan Van der Beek attended by Stan 
Brakhage. Format: 16mm only. Fees for comp.: $20. 
Deadline for forms: Feb. 1. Contact Bert Berwager, 
BIFF, 516 N. Charles St., Rm. 508, Baltimore, MD 
21201; (301) 685-4170. Administration & coordina- 
tion will be handled by Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 
Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201, attn: A/V 
Dept. 

• CHICAGO NATIONAL VIDEO COMPETI- 
TION, 1986, IL. Sponsored by Kodak & organized 
by the Chicago Access Corporation for Chicago's 
Community Access TV Network, this event seeks 
noncommercial programming for community cable 
producers in 10 categories for cablecast in 1986. 
$8,000 in prize money. Max. award $250. Categories 
incl. documentary, entertainment, music, video art, 
performance, ethnic expression, others. Entry fee: 
$20; $15 if work is submitted on Eastman profes- 
sional videotape. Judges incl. George Stoney, Assoc. 
Prof, NYU, Sue Buske, Pres. NFLCP, Peter 
Stamelman from the Arts & Entertainment Network 
& Henry Schlenker from the Learning Channel. 
Contact Lauren Dugas, Community TV Competi- 
tion, Chicago Access Corp., 220 S. State St., #312, 
Chicago, IL 60604; (312) 294-0400. 

• HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM AND 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, April 18-27, TX. Competition 
in 6 major categories: features, documentaries, 
shorts, TV productions, experimental & commer- 
cials. Subcategories incl. student, independent video 
& screenplays. Winners last year incl. John P'lom, 
Overnight Sensation; Gavin Doughtie, Street Acts; 
Jeffrey Townsend, Landscape with a Waitress. In 
video: Transition Communication, El Salvador; 
Elise Goyette, Secret World of the Very Young; Ar- 
chive Films, Rock 'n'Roll: The Early Years. Approx. 
16 hours of video shown, according to festival direc- 
tor J. Hunter Todd. $3,000-$5,000 sponsored prizes 
to be awarded in 1986. 17,000 tickets sold 1st year 
out of a possible 50,000 maximum attendance. Says 
Todd, "Houston is not as cultural a city as New York, 
San Francisco or Chicago," noting that "you can't 
get near the theaters" during the festivals in those 
cities. "The blunt reality is that we'll have a terrific 
program of shorts & there will be 10 people in the 
theater." Subscription tickets for the festival are $50, 
$25 for students & independents. Entire weekends 
devoted to shorts, docs. & experimental films. In- 
dependent features shown w/ major foreign & U.S. 
releases. Independent shorts shown before features 
as well. Entry fees: $20-$ 100 covers insurance & 
return shipping. Format: V* ", VHS, 16mm, 35mm & 
S-8 if transferred to video. Contact HIFF, Entry 
Director, Box 56566, Houston, TX 77256; (713) 
965-9955. 

• NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, May 16-18, San Francisco/Oakland, CA. 
16mm, 3 A " videocassettes, educational television 
programming & filmstrips (all released after Jan. 1, 
1984) to compete in 11 categories incl. life sciences & 
ecology, human relations & film as art. Separate 



competitions for student entries & filmstrips. 1st, 2nd 
place, honorable mention awards in 70 subcate- 
gories, as well as special awards for Best of Festival, 
Best Entry Produced by a Northern California Film- 
maker & Best Filmstrip. Juries of educators, film 
professionals & students judge works using criteria 
such as educational value, creativity & technical ex- 
cellence. Film/videocassette fees vary according to 
length; minimum $55. Student fees: $5-$20. 
Deadline: Jan. 15. Contact Sue Davies, NEFF, 314 
E. 10th St., Oakland, CA 94606; (415) 465-6885. 

• SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE FILM 
FESTIVAL, March 7-9, CA. This annual student- 
run showcase has grown into a professionally 
organized & well-established event over its 8-year ex- 
istence. Its stated purpose is to "give exposure to the 
best of recently produced artist-made cinema from 
around the world. The festival welcomes all styles of 
film expression and encourages new & emerging film- 
makers to submit their work." Of approximately 125 
entries last year, 1/3 shown at nightly screenings. Ac- 
cording to festival coordinator Byrd Nappa, the em- 
phasis of the event is on experimental, avant-garde & 
animated work w/ a few docs. & narratives. For- 
mats: S-8 & 16mm. Max. running time 35 min. Fee: 
$15. Deadline: Feb. 7. Contact SF Art Institute, 800 
Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94133, attn: Byrd 
Nappa, Robert Fox; (415) 771-7020. 

• USA FILM FESTIVAL, April 18-22, Dallas. 15th 
annual event encompasses 8th short film/video com- 
petition & 2nd competition for new features, as well 
as Hollywood premieres & an international feature 
showcase. $3,000 went to Heartbreakers for best 
narative & to Kirby Dick's Private Practices for best 
documentary. Special jury awards went to Moffett 
Kaufman's Choosing Victory, Bill Duke & Elsa Rass- 
back's The Killing Floor & Neil Miller's The Room- 
mate. 3 shorts won $1,000 prizes & 4 were cited for 
honorable mentions from 250 submissions. Winners 
were Deborah Shaffer's Witness to War, Tina 
Rathborne's The Joy That Kills & Skip Battaglia's 
How the Frog 's Eye Sees. Categories incl. documen- 
tary, narrative & animation. Deadline for film/video 
competition: February 15; for feature selection: 
ASAP. Format: 35mm, 16mm & V* ". Fee for short 
film comp.: $25. Contact Robert L. Hull, USA Film 
Fest., Inc., 8080 North Central Expressway, Ste. 650, 
LB 24, Dallas, TX 75206-1806; (214) 891-8150. 

• WOMEN'S EYE VIEW, Oct/Nov., Portland, 
OR. 4th year for this festival which, according to 
organizer Rose Bond, seeks "works in which women 
play a primary role in production." Festival runs 2 
nights a week for 6 weeks at Cinema 21 , a "beautiful 
16mm & 35mm theater with rocking chair comfort." 
Festival pays rental fee for work selected. Although 
"partial toward animation," last year's festival 
favored features & documentaries. Selections incl. 
Debra Robinson's 58-min. doc. on Black women 
comediennes / Be Done Been Was Is, Chantal Aker- 
man's The Golden Ws, producer Sandra Shulberg's 
Wildrose, DeeDee Halleck's Haiti: Bitter Cane & 
others. Most films shown in last year's 15-program 
event were not selected through open solicitation, but 
festival organizers are open to submissions. Video 
OK for preview. Send information about films to 
Filma, Box 15143, Portland, OR 97215. 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



FOREIGN 



• CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 8-19, France. 39th edition of the 
event by which, for better or worse, all other festivals 
are measured. Cannes is not open to the public but is 
instead a place to see & be seen by thousands of in- 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



dustry professionals, stars & journalists. Participa- 
tion costs for filmmakers can run into the thousands. 
Selection screenings are arranged at the producer's 
expense. Blow-ups, subtitling, publicity, travel & ac- 
commodation may have to be budgeted as well (see 
"The Cannes Game," The Independent, Jan. /Feb. 
'85). Approx. 85 features were shown last year in 7 
different sections: The Official Section; In and Out 
of Competition (for 35mm major international 
releases, e.g., Kiss of the Spider Woman, In- 
significance & Col. Red!)', Homages, Un Certain 
Regard (for major fatures which don't qualify for 
competition, e.g., Latino, Oriane, Tokyo-Ga); 
Director's Fortnight (25 films of the independent, 
auteurist stripe, e.g., Desperately Seeking Susan, 
Crossover Dreams, Flash of Green, Dim Sum); Inter- 
national Critic's Week (7 films; 1st or 2nd features & 
documentaries, selected by the French Cinema 
Critics Association, e.g., The Killing Floor) & 
Perspective on French Cinema. 

Prizes include The Golden Palm for best film in 
competition (won last year by Emir Kusturica's 
When Father Was A way on Business) & the Camera 
d'Or for first feature (won last year by Fina Torres' 
Oriane & in '84 by Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than 
Paradise). The International Film Market runs con- 
currently with the festival & gets at least as much at- 
tention in the trades as the festival itself; it's often the 
main justification for attendance. Last year's jury 
incl. Milos Forman, Walter Mirisch, Jorge Amado, 
Sarah Miles, Nestor Almendros, Edwin Zbonek & 3 
others. Deadlines, between March & April, vary for 
each section. Festival programmers, especially 
festival director Gilles Jacob of the Official Section, 
do screen work in the U.S. The U.S. contact for infor- 
mation & accreditation for Cannes is Catherine Veret, 
French Film Office, 745 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 
10022; (212) 832-8860. They can also provide contact 
information in France for particular sections. 

KARLOVY VARYINT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 
3-16, Czechoslovakia. Held in alternating years with 
the Moscow Int'l Film Festival. The 2-event com- 
bination is one of the best attended and most 
prestigious in the Eastern European film world. 
Features & shorts compete in 2 divisions: films from 
invited nations & first works. Participants vie for 
various awards incl. the Rose of Lidice prize for best 
humanistic, anti-militaristic film (1984's winner was 
the Vietnamese Orange Colored Bells). The Special 
Jury prize went to Sidney Lumet's Daniel; E.L. Doc- 
torow, the author of The Book of Daniel, on which 
the film is based, was one of several well-known 
Americans at the '84 gathering. Entries (16mm, 
35mm) produced during 14 months preceeding the 
festival & not previously shown in int'l competition. 
No fees. In U.S. contact The International Film Ex- 
change, 210 W. 52nd St., 2nd fl., New York, NY 
10019; (212) 582-4318. In Czechoslovakia contact 
Dr. Varicek, Karlovy Vary Int'l Film Festival, 
Czechoslovak Film, Jinrisska St., #34, Prague 1, 
Czechoslovakia; tel. 22 37 51/56; telex 122059 Film 
Praha. 

• MONTBELIARD INTERNATIONAL VIDEO & 
TV FESTIVAL, May, France. 1986 heralds the 3rd 
edition of this event, last held in '84, which quickly 
established itself as a major international show- 
case/competition for video art, documentary & 
drama, as well as providing an overview of the state 
of the art via retrospectives, seminars & a market. 
Over 600 programs were screened. The catalogue ran 
over 400 pages & was only 1 of a number of publica- 
tions issued. Belgium, France, W. Germany & 
Austria shared approx. 20 cash prizes awarded by 
jury members Steina Vasulka, Marie-Claude Jeune, 
Claudia Von Aleman, Luc Dardenne, Tom Van 
Vliet, Michel Jaffrennou & Jean-Marie Piemme. 
From 352 tapes submitted from 24 countries, 56 were 
selected for the competition. European TV broad- 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



casts winning tapes. The 1986 event has added the 
word "TV" to the event's title, perhaps signalling an 
increased interest in commercial ventures. One 'arge 
section will be devoted to Training for Video & 
Television, divided into 3 major categories: Concep- 
tual & Artistic Creation in TV Training; Research -" 
Technological Development in Video & TV Schoo. , 
Video & TV in the Strengthening of Cultural Identi- 
ties. In addition, there will be an individual program 
competition, a competition for a "program grid as if 
to be broadcast on a national TV station, on a week- 
day between 8:30-10:00 PM," a conference on the 
legal aspects of recording live shows & the market. 
Work by students welcome along with video artists, 
TV director training schools & institutions. Contact 
ASAP Michel Bongiovanni, Organizing Committee, 
International Video & TV Festival, Cultures Arts 
Communications, Centre d'Action Culturelle de 
Montbeliard, 12 rue du College, BP 223, 25204 
Montbeliard cedex France; tel. (81) 91 37 11. 

• MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL SUPERS 
FESTIVAL, Feb. 18-23, Canada. 7th annual event, 
organized this year by new director Jean Hamel. One 
of the 3 or 4 festivals (along with Caracas, Ann Ar- 
bor, Bruxelles & Lisboa) supported by the Federation 
Internationale du Super-8, an association based in 
Montreal whose purpose is to encourage & promote 
the use of S-8 as a viable art form & means of political 
expression worldwide. Montreal is a meeting place 
for this international community. Approx. 20 special 
guests convene along with makers of at least 200 
films to discuss & debate the current S-8 situation. At 
least 4,000 viewers attend the week-long festival. Ac- 
cording to Hamel, the program favors work of film- 
makers whose "objective in life is to work in cinema; 
young filmmakers who in the future will take their 
place in the cinematographic culture of their 
country." Special programs for 1986 incl. a 
retrospective of Australian S-8 & a program devoted 
to the current International Youth Year. All work ex- 
hibited in the 200-seat Cinematheque Quebequoise. 
Three competitions incl. 1 for Quebec, 1 all-Canada 
& 1 International. Cash prizes. Work must have been 
shot on S-8, but may be presented in any format incl. 
video (tape shown out of comp.) Last year's winners 
were the 7-min. Eponne, by French filmmaker 
Michel Chion, shot on S-8 & blown up to 35mm . 2nd 
prize went to a film from Bolivia. No max. running 
time. Work ranges from 1-min. to feature length; 
avg. runs about 15 min. Deadline for forms: Jan 10. 
Contact Montreal Int'l Super-8 Festival, 4545 Pierre 
du Coubertin, Box 1000 Succ M Montreal, Quebec 
H1V3RZ; tel. (514)252-3024. 

• MURCIA INT'L FESTIVAL OF SHORT 
FILMS, March, Spain. In its 33rd year, the event is 
open to shorts (Super-8, 16mm) on any subject. Par- 
ticipants compete for prizes ranging from 20,000 to 
75,000 pesetas (for overall best film). Decisions on 
winners, made by a jury of 5 film experts, occur after 
the public screenings. All entrants receive a diploma 
of participation. Festival pays return handling 
charges. Deadline for entry forms & prints: end of 
January. Contact Catedra de Cinematografia de la 
Caja de Ahorres de Alicante y Murcia, Centra 
Cultural, Salzillo 7, Murcia, Spain; tel. (968) 21 77 
51/52. 

• PRIX JEUNESSE INT'L TELEVISION COM- 
PETITION, May/June, Munich, W. Germany. Bi- 
annual event where programs created for children 
and young people vie for 6 prizes — two each in the 
categories of storytelling, information & light enter- 
tainment. Entries (16mm, 35mm, V* " videocassette) 
produced during the 2 years prior to festival. 
Deadlines: entry forms, beginning March; prints, 
early April. Contact Bayerischer Rundfunk, Rund- 
funkplatz 1, D 8000 Munich 2, W. Germany; (el. 
(089)5900 2058; telex 52 10 70 BRM D. 



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25 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 



Andrea Estepa 



Ohio-based Will Roberts has finished American 
Rebel, a feature-length biography of pop singer 
Dean Reed, the boy from Denver, Colorado, 
who became a Soviet rock star. For several years 
Roberts followed the singer through Eastern 
Europe and South America, and visited him and 
his family at home in East Berlin. Reed attended 
the premiere of American Rebel at the Denver 
International Film Festival last October. Ameri- 
can Rebel: Ohio River Films, 1055 Lagonda 
Ave., Springfield, OH 45503; (513) 325-1025. 

Glenn Silber and Claudia Vianello have com- 
pleted Troupers, a celebration of the 26-year 
history of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. The 
film premiered at the Castro Theatre in San 
Francisco and was screened at New York's Inde- 
pendent Feature Market in October. The 
84-minute documentary combines archival foot- 
age of the colorful and controversial theater's 
performances through the sixties and seventies, 
interviews with former troupers Bill Graham and 
Peter Coyote, and current footage of the Troupe 
touring the Midwest with their play Steel town. 
Troupers: Icarus Films, 200 Far k Ave. S., New 
York, NY 10003; (212) 674-3375. 

Rate It X, a 95-minute color documentary, 
directed by Paula de Koenigsberg and Lucy 
Winer, produced by Claudette Charbonneau, 
examines the sexual depiction of women from 
advertising to pornography. Through interviews 
with men who create female images or profit 
from their use, the filmmakers uncover some 
startling assumptions about gender roles. The 



producers are currently negotiating a distribu- 
tion deal for the film, and they will be taking it to 
the Berlin Film Festival in February. Rate It X: 
Claudette Charbonneau, 188 Fenimore St., 
Brooklyn, NY 11225; (718) 941-7874. 

MTV may not be broadcasting any salsa 
videos, but two new hour-long productions 
underscore the important contribution of Latin 
American music to North American culture. 
Musica, a videotape produced by Gustavo 
Paredes, directed by John D. Wise, documents 
the development of Latin American music in the 
U.S. from the beginning of this century to the 
present. The videotape, which will be aired on 
WNYC-TV in New York City on January 30, 
presents interviews and performance footage 
featuring Mario Bauza, Machito, Dizzy Gil- 
lespie, Paquito D' Rivera, Joe Cuba, and Johnny 
Colon, as well as the critical insights of ethno- 
musicologist Isabelle Leymarie and music his- 
torian Max Salazar. Musica: Black Filmmakers 
Foundation, 80 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 
10011; (212) 924-1198. 

Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy is Carlos 
Ortiz's film portrait of the great Cuban band- 
leader who brought the Afro-Caribbean sound 
to New York in the 1940s. Machito, who died in 
1984, is portrayed in interviews, performance se- 
quences, and archival footage of New York's 
Latin Club scene in the 1950s. Machito pre- 
miered at El Museo del Barrio's Latino Film and 
Video Festival in New York in October and was 
one of the three entries purchased for the 
museum's permanent collection. Machito: 
Nubia Music Society, 1230 Fifth Ave., New 
York, NY 10029; (212) 860-3025. 



Witness for Peace, the Christian organization 
that hopes to bring about a reconciliation be- 
tween the U.S. and Nicaragua, made the news 
earlier this year when one of its groups was 
reported kidnapped by the contras. Lisa Maya 
Knauer and Jack Levine's 60-minute documen- 
tary American Journey presents an account of 
an earlier Witness for Peace tour of 16 New 
England churchgoers who visited the war zone 
on Nicaragua's Honduran border, returning 
home to share what they'd learned with their 
friends and neighbors. The film was shown at 
the 1985 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in 
August and at the Margaret Mead Film Festival 
last September. American Journey: First Run 
Features, 163 Waverly PL, New York, NY 10014; 
(212) 243-0600. 

Another recent documentary that explores the 
relationship of ordinary citizens to government 
policy is Joan Harvey's A Matter of Struggle, 
which opened at New York's Film Forum in 
September. The feature-length film follows folk- 
singer/activist Richie Havens and two young 
friends, Meagan and Toni, as they travel across 
the country talking to Americans from all walks 
of life about their impressions of the current 
state of the union. Harvey and her associates will 
self-distribute and recently organized a success- 
ful benefit at New York's Carnegie Hall to raise 
money for this effort. The film will be screened 
at the Chicago Art Institute three times during 
the month of January and is headed for a num- 
ber of other cities around the country. A Matter 
of Struggle: Parallel Films, 314 W. 91st St., New 
York, NY 10024; (212) 580-3888. 

Curried Goat, Jamaican Style, by Cambiz 





The TV screen frames our view of natives from Papua New Guinea 
in John Caldwell's "Sightworks." 

Courtesy videomaker 

26 THE INDEPENDENT 



A family of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon makes its home under 
tarpaulins in Tom Hayes's recently released "Native Sons." 

Courtesy filmmaker 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



Khosravi, examines the lives of a community of 
undocumented Jamaican workers living in up- 
state New York. The tape crosscuts interviews 
with scenes of a man slaughtering, cleaning, and 
cooking a goat. The 55-minute tape aired on 
WMHT in Schenectady, New York, in October 
and will be screened at the Kitchen in New York 
City in January. Curried Goat: The Kitchen, 512 
W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011; (212) 
255-5793. 

John Caldwell's Sightworks, a series of three 
tapes shot in various locations in Papua New 
Guinea and Central America, premiered in No- 
vember at New York City's Millennium Film 
Workshop. The tapes — A Fearful Sphere, Beau- 
ty Since the 18th Century, and The Coming 
Wound — with a total running time of 40 min- 
utes, explore "the problems of seeing and repre- 
senting alien and transitory cultures." Caldwell 
received a regional NEA/AFI fellowship; addi- 
tional funding for the project came from the Il- 
linois Arts Council and the Center for New Tele- 
vision. Sightworks: Video Data Bank, School of 
the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbus Dr. at 
Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60603; (312) 
443-3793. 

Louisiana filmmaker Scott Purdin has com- 
pleted shooting for his feature Shooting Air. The 
16mm black and white film features two old 
friends, now in their forties. Jimmy, a real estate 
developer, has built a subdivision in a flood 
plain. When torrential rains destroy the houses, 
Jerry, a photographer, takes the news photos 
that bring the disaster into the public eye. As 
they begin to reestablish their friendship, a 
teenage runaway enters their lives, bringing with 
her more trouble than they can handle. The 
80-minute film stars Eldridge Roark, Rod Mas- 
terson, and Kristie Transeau. Shooting Air: 
Scott Purdin, 10250 Parkside Dr., Baton Rouge, 
LA 70815. 

The second part of Richard Boehm's three- 
part documentary Outlaw Economics is in the 
can. Entitled Las Vegas Odds, the 30-minute 
film plumbs the psychology and physiology of 
legal and illegal sports gambling. Set in the gam- 
bling capital of the world, the film goes inside 
"sports book" lounges, following the football 
season from beginning to end through the eyes 
of key players. Part one of Boehm's trilogy, Sold 
America, has been shown on many PBS stations 
and the USA Cable Network. Journey Through 
the Junkyards is now in preproduction. Las 
Vegas Odds: Richard Boehm, 16547 Sunset 
Blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272; (213) 
459-2827. 

Filmmaker Tom Hayes has announced the 
release of his documentary film Native Sons: 
Palestinians in Exile. Narrated by Martin Sheen, 
the 58-minute film portrays three Palestinian 
families who were displaced to Lebanon during 
the fighting in Palestine in 1948, where they have 
remained as refugees. Three years in the making, 
the project was funded by the Ohio Arts Coun- 
cil, the George Gund Foundation, and 
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



Chicago's Center for New Television. It was 
recently screened at the annual conference of the 
Middle East Studies Association. Native Sons: 
Foglight Films, 208 E. Maynard Ave., Colum- 
bus, OH 43202; (614) 268-4690. 

Secret Sounds Screaming: The Sexual Abuse 
of Children, Ayoka Chenzira's video docu- 
drama, explores the anger and frustration of a 
mother who discovers that her six-year-old 
daughter is being sexually abused by the child's 
father. Dramatic material is complemented by 
testimony from women and men from a variety 



of backgrounds who experienced sexual abuse as 
children; interviews with professionals who dis- 
cuss related topics, including the eroticization of 
children by the media; offenders who get away 
with the crime; and the effects of race and class. 
The tape, funded with grants from the Astraea 
Foundation, the Eastman Fund, the Film Fund, 
WNYC, and private contributions, will be 
screened at the Women in the Director's Chair 
Festival in Chicago in March. Secret Sounds 
Screaming: Visions in Film, 265 Bainbridge St., 
Brooklyn, NY 11233; (718) 773-6571. 




Centre Productions is looking 

for a few good films . . . 

Call Ron Meyer at 800-824-1166 

Centre Productions Inc. • 1800 30th St. #207 Boulder, CO 80301 
Distributors of Award-Winning Films & Video Cassettes 



Sr Faithful Companions 



Orson Welles said you can 

learn everything technical about 

filmmaking in three days. What 

he didn't say is you can carry 

just about everything technical 

in one Danish Souperbag™ — 

and organize your life at the same time. 

It deserves an Oscar for design 

and durability. What a bag! 

Veronika Soul, filmmaker 



The Chocolate Soup 

946 Madison Ave. at 75th St. 

New York City 10021 

(212) 861-2210 




THE INDEPENDENT 



27 



NOTICES 



The Independent's Notices are undergo- 
ing renovations. Over the past few years 
this section of the magazine has expand- 
ed as our membership has grown. Be- 
cause of the increased length and 
accompanying increases in production 
costs for the magazine, we have decided 
to institute several changes that will make 
the column more practical and help offset 
the expenses. The section titled "Editing 
Facilities" has been renamed "Post- 
production." All notices related to editing, 
negative matching, sound transfers, and 
other postproduction services now appear 
in this section. Preproduction, production, 
and other film and videomaking services 
are listed under "Freelancers." 

In the March 1986 issue we will divide the 
Notices into two categories: Classified 
and Notices. The new Classifieds column 
will include all listings now appearing under 
the "Buy • Rent • Sell," "Freelancers," and 
"Postproduction" headings. There will be a 
$15 charge and 250-character limit for 
each entry in one issue. Listings in these sec- 
tions will be restricted to members only. 
Anyone wishing to run a classified ad more 
than once must pay for each insertion and 
indicate the number of issues on the submit- 
ted copy. Each classified must be typed, 
doubled-spaced, and worded exactly as it 
should appear. Remember the 250-char- 
acter restriction (approximately 5 lines). All 
submissions must be accompanied by a 
check or money order, payable to FIVF-no 
cash. And no classifieds will be accepted 
by telephone. 

Deadlines for Notices and Classifieds will 
be respected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to the cover date 
of the issue, e.g., February 8 for the April issue. 
Members should keep in mind the dates of 
our double issues: January/February and 
August/September. Mail classifieds to: In- 
dependent Classifieds, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 



Buy •Rent ©Sell 



• WANTED: Sony 1610 or 1710 Camera Control 
Unit w/ Sony model CMA-6. (212) 222-0724/ 
925-7666, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: 16mm Auricon Super 1200 camera, 
TVT Shutter, Filmagnetic, 17-85 Pan Cinor lens, 
1200 ' mag., complete $1,095. D4 Film Studios, Inc., 
(617)444-0226, MA. 

• WANTED: Low-priced loft for ongoing ex- 
perimental video shoots. Approx. 60'x60', high 
ceiling, no columns, available on 24 hr. basis during 
shoot. (212) 719-2133, M-F, 9-5, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Sony 2850-A 3 A ", just overhauled, 
$2,500 plus freight. Mike, (305) 554-7453, FL. 

28 THE INDEPENDENT 



• FOR SALE: Sony VCR VO 1800 % ", $350. 
Lynitron Sharp monitor 17", $250. Good condition. 
Together $500 or best offer. Guido, (212) 228-6349, 
NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Eclair magazines, spare body & 
Angenieux Primes. Lowell Quartz D Kits (new), 
$699. Bell & Howell 2709 Animation Camera, 16 or 
35mm, $3,800. MP 30 35mm portable projector, like 
new, $395. Arri, Bolex & Beaulieu accessories. Tony, 
(201)659-4430, NJ. 

• FOR SALE: Eclair ACL with Cinema Products 
crystal & var. speed motor. 3 200' magazines, 
12-75mm Ang. T2.2.3 batteries, power cable & case. 
Best offer over $500. (718) 236-0153, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Moviola Jr. M-79 editor. 1 pic, 3 
sound 24 fps, "poor man's Steenbeck," $750. Peter 
Wallach Films, (314) 725-8952, MO. 

• FOR SALE: Used 16mm 6-plate Steenbeck editing 
table. Excellent value. (212) 246-5522, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Editing equipment, Steenbeck 
( 1 6mm 6 plate) & Universal Kem ( 1 6/35mm , 8-plate , 
2 pix). Reasonable. (212) 924-0400, NYC. 

• FOR RENT: Complete Betacam system, plus 
lighting & Stero Nagra time code sound equipment. 
Call collect, (803) 538-2709, SC. 

• FOR SALE: V*" video deck, JVC 5000, player 
with rf. $200 or best offer. Wendy, (718) 624-3506, 
NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Nagra 4.2L w/ crystal, QPAUT, 
QGX, QSLI, ATN. Sennheiser 8 1 6T w/ shockmount 
& foam windscreen. 3 ECM-50PS mics. Shure M-67 
mixer, cables & aces. Excellent condition. $5,000. 
(312)664-6482, IL. 

• FOR SALE: Aaton, 16mm package w/ or w/out 
Ang. 12:120. Excellent condition. Warranty. Nesya, 
(212) 477-5036, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: New 16mm Steenbeck, # ST 1901, 
6-plate, super 16, stereo, optical sound head, 
rewinder. (718) 441-3615, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Cinemonta 6-plate flatbed. Perfect. 
$13,500. Uher 4200, Bolex H-8 double S-8, Nikon 
200mm, precision 3-4-gang synchronizers, Nizo 
s-800 barney 2-Mitchell 16mm 400 ' mags. Best offer. 
Mr. Clifford, (415) 444-3074, CA. 

• FOR RENT IN NICARAGUA: Sony M-3 
camera, 4800 deck, monitor, tripod, mics,- lighting. 
Reasonable rates for equip & cameraperson/crew. 
Contact Martha Wallner, (212) 260-6565, NYC, or 
Gabrielle Baur in Managua, Nica. 60169. 

• FOR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck editing room. Ful- 
ly equipped w/ phone. Special rates for indepen- 
dents. (212) 736-3074, NYC. 

• WANTED: 16mm Canon Scoopic, prefer w/ crys- 
tal synch and 400' adaptor. Karen, (212) 873-6531, 
NYC. 

• FOR RENT: Moviola 4- & 6-plate flatbed w/ 
editors. Reasonable. Karen, (212) 873-6531, NYC. 

• SMA LL OFFICE A VA ILABLE in NYC . Close to 
all trade labs, supply houses, etc. Active film organi- 
zation w/ screening facilities for film & video. 300 sq. 
ft. Looking for compatible artist. $14/sq. ft. Call 
(212) 947-9277, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Biamp 1283 12-input stereo out audio 



mixing console w/ internal reverb, $600. Sony TCM 
5000 EV portable pro mono cassette recorder. Good 
for field interviews, etc. $150. Call Phil Cibley, (212) 
986-2219, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex Rex-5 w/ 3 Swiss Prime lenses. 
Will accept animation & synch motors & accepts 400 ' 
mags. Hardly used, like new, $900 (neg.). Richard, 
(212) 569-7877, NYC. 

• FOR RENT OR SALE: 35BL w/ superspeed 
lenses, Sachtler head, 1,000 ' mags. Rental can be ap- 
plied toward purchase. Also for rent: 16 SR, sound 
equipment, editing table. Mik Cribben, (212) 
929-7728, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Unopened film stock: 7247 color 
negative II, 16 (400') rolls; EF7242 7 (400') rolls; 
Trix reversal 7278 8 (400') rolls @ $25. (617) 
566-6793, MA. 

• FOR SALE: JVC KY-2700A 3-tube color camera 
w/ Fuginon 14-1 lens. In excellent condition. Very lit- 
tle use. Incl. travel case. $4,000 or best offer. Call 
Geoff, (212) 254-2852, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Nagra III, crystal synch, leather case, 
cover adapted for 1-Vz" reels. Excellent condition, 
$1,500. (718) 447-3280, NYC. 

• FOR RENT: Eight-plate Steenbeck. Moderate 
prices by the mo. Delivered to your workspace. Call 
Octavio, (718) 855-8366, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Sony TCD-5 cassette recorder con- 
verted for internal crystal synch & slate. Resolver in- 
cluded to complete synch recording system, $450. 
Moviola M86-H 6-plate flatbed w/ flickerless prism, 
instant start/stop board, torque control box, perfect 
condition, $10,500. (206) 285-3057, WA. 

• FOR SALE: Eclair CM3 pkg. Shoot 16mm or 
35mm w/ same camera. Two camera bodies, 7 (400 ') 
35mm mags, 4 (400 ') 16mm mags, 110VAC motor, 
12VDC Wild motor, Barney, matte boxes, cases, 
tripods, Sachtler gyro head. Must sell. Best offer 
takes all. Doug Hart, (718) 937-7250, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Tandberg 11 portable tape recorder 
w/ AC transformer & leather case, half track mono. 
Non-synch model, good condition, $800. Call Jack, 
(212)553-9351 (day), NYC. 

• FOR SALE: NPR pkg., body, 3 mags, Beala 
motor, 12- 120mm, 20-240mm Ang. lenses. Filters, 
cases, accessories. Excellent maintenance. Best offer. 
Contact Marek, (212) 645-2057, NYC. 

• WANTED: Images in Motion, Inc., a nonprofit 
corporation, providing dance/movement for special 
populations, seeks donations of production equip- 
ment: VHS deck, camera, monitor, accessories. For 
therapeutic assessment & performance. Tax deduct. 
Call (303) 499-0805, CO. 

• FOR SALE: Two 35mm Mitchell standard rack- 
overs, $4,900 & $5,500. 10mm f 1 .8 Arri Mt. Century 
Prime, $350. 400 ' Eclair NPR mags, $740. Bell & 
Howell model 2709 animation camera 16mm or 
35mm shuttle, $3,800. Portable 35mm projectors 
Preview/Archive Class, $2,800 each. Arriflex 16 
torque mtrs., $400. Many other Arri, Bolex & Eclair 
accessories. Tony, (201) 659-4430, NJ. 

• FOR SALE: Complete Sony pro V* " field produc- 
tion pkg. Incl. like new Sony DXC-1800K portable 
pro color camera w/ Canon f/1.6 lOx power zoom 
lens, contoured shoulder pad w/ hand grip remote, 
dual battery charger, compact AC supply, 2 \-Vi hr 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



batteries & VCR cable. Sony 4800 portable pro Vt " 
field recorder. Incl. low usage $150 kangaroo field 
case, 3-hr battery, AC supply/dual battery charger & 
2 lavelier mics. Original cost over $7,000. Liquida- 
tion sale of entire pkg., $2,995. Mike, Clark Video, 
405 Meadowlark Rd., Bloomingdale, IL 60108; (312) 
894-8835. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• "HOW MEDIA WORKS" SERIES at Newark 
MediaWorks presents "Video as a Tool For Com- 
munity Expression" w/ access advocate George 
Stoney, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. "Audio for Video" 
master class, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m. "Lighting for Video" 
master class, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m. For more info contact 
Newark MediaWorks, 60 Union St., #3N, Newark, 
NJ; (201) 690-5474. 

• ANTHROPOLOGY FILM CENTER offers full- 
time 17-wk Documentary Film Program. Spring 
semester begins Jan. 13. For more info, contact The 
Anthropology Film Center, Box 493, Santa Fe, NM 
87504-0493; (505) 983-4127. 

• WORKSHOPS ON ARTS & TOURISM: Final 4 
seminars of 6-part series on attracting new audiences 
for art in conjunction w/ tourist industry. "Expanding 
Your Resources: How to Package Your Cultural At- 
tractions," Jan. 22; "Reaching New Audiences: The 
Group Travel Market," Feb. 5; "Getting Around 
Roadblocks: Creative Marketing," Mar. 26; "Put- 
ting the Word Out: Travel Writers & 'Fam' Tours," 
Apr. 30. Contact Tamara Real, Cultural Assistance 
Center, (212) 947-6340, NYC. 

• COLLECTIVE FOR LIVING CINEMA offers 
low-cost workshops for beginning & intermediate 
students in Super-8 & 16mm basics, lighting for film, 
editing, sound & optical printing. Three sessions per 
year; enrollment discount for Collective members. 
For free brochure & details contact Lyna Shirley, 
Assistant Director, Collective for Living Cinema, 52 
White St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 925-3926. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• MEET THE FILMMAKER: Series at Brooklyn 
College Institute for Retired Professionals & Interna- 
tional Center in NY (foreign gov. reps & others). 
Your presence, short films & promotional literature 
will help popularize your creations. Contact Sol 
Rubin (charter member AIVF), Box 40, New York, 
NY 10038. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCER SEEKS FOOT- 
AGE of Vietnam veterans, protests, anti-war 
demonstrations, speeches & actions by Ron Kovic for 
Born on the Fourth of July, 16mm documentary por- 
trait of Vietnam vet, author, activist Ron Kovic. 
Contact Loretta Smith, Flower of the Dragon Pro- 
ductions, 3635 N. Paulina St., Chicago IL 60613; 
(312)327-8592. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY 

seeks non-exclusive distributors for instructional 
video, "Interview Techniques and Resume Tips for 
the Job Applicant." Contact Bennu Productions, 
Inc., 165 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 
519-2727/213-8511. 

• WNYC TV— CHANNEL 31, Manhattan Cable 
Channel 3, is looking for narrative film & video, 30 
min. or less, for spring series WNYC Mini 
Playhouse. Send Vt " preview cassettes to Acquisi- 
tions Dept., WNYC-TV, One Centre St., New York, 
NY 10007. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



Channel L working Group 

Presents 

VIDEO SPECTRUM 

An 8 week Video 
Documentary Series only 

on Channel L 
premiering January 8 

Each Wednesday 9-9:30 pm 
January - March 

Featuring NAM JUNE PAIK 
DORIS CHASE & Other 
Documentary Greats 



Series made possibfe by a grant 
from N.Y State Council On The Arts 



^v 





We have what 
you want... 

the competitive edge on insurance 
programs (or the entertainment & 
communication industries. 



Get to know us 




&*?$S0€S8T£S 



Insurance Specialists 

Contact Dennis Reitl 

221 West 57 Street N Y.NY 10019 (212)603-0231 



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low rates — call for information 


For any size job call 496-1 118 

Same day service— Weekends & rush hours possible 


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Monday - Friday 10-5 



THE INDEPENDENT 29 



A Post-Production Center for 
independent and corporate filmmakers 

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Award-winning editing staff 
Supervising editor Victor Kanefsky 

Facilities for 16 mm & 35 mm film, 

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— Rentals also available — 

1600 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019 

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Film it Videotape Services 



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Comprehensive Post-Production 
Facilities and Equipment Rental 



Ross-Gaffney, Inc. 
Est. 1955 




30 THE INDEPENDENT 



• INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER looking for 
distributor for feature independent underground 
films & shorts on satirical social topics, comedy, 
documentary & sexual politics. Contact Cinema of 
Transgression, (212) 228-1896, NYC. 

• CABARET THEA TRE seeks all types of indepen- 
dent film & video projects of any length for presenta- 
tion to public in varied program. Contact Lynn 
Waltz, On Stage, Cab'ret, 2020 Sansom St., Phila- 
delphia, PA 19103; (215) 675-0741. 

• W 45AB-TV, the Inner Entertainment Channel, 
seeks films & videotapes for local cable TV channel. 
Contact Ademah Hackshaw, W 45AB-TV, Box 
1037, Kingshill, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands 00850; 
(809) 778-9045. 

• DISTRIBUTOR looking for independent film & 
video productions. Of special interest: children's 
films; shorts; films on outstanding Americans or 
U.S. issues for distribution in Europe. (718) 
441-3615, NYC. 

• CINCINNATI ARTISTS GROUP EFFORT 

<CA GE) is accepting V* " video tapes for open screen- 
ing series. Eight 1 hr. programs to lead off 8 open 
screening sessions. All work shown; very long works 
prescreened & possibly excerpted. Three deadlines: 
Jan. 15; Mar. 15; May 15. Send tapes w/ return post- 
age & mailer to CAGE, Box 1362, Cincinnati, OH 
45201; (513)381-2437. 

• LOCUSFOCUS VIDEO MAGAZINE is looking 
for submissions for a new weekly half-hour cable 
show to be shown Thursdays, 9 pm on Group W & 
Manhattan Cable in NYC. Any genre, excerpts OK. 
Please clearly label box & cassette with title, name, 
address & phone. Sponsored by Locus Communica- 
tions, 250 W. 57th St., Ste. 1229, New York, NY 
10019; (212) 757-4220. 

• PAPER TIGER TV SATELLITE PROJECT 

seeks tapes on community/political issues for series 
to be shown on public access channels across the 
country in spring 1986. Strong point of view & local 
focus desired on subjects of racism, housing, farm- 
ing, feminism, disarmament, environment, Central 
America, free speech, pop culture/alternative 
culture, international issues with community focus, 
gay/lesbian rights & youth. Do not send tapes. Con- 
tact Paper Tiger TV, 165 W. 91 St., #14F, New York, 
NY 10024; or call Martha Wallner, (212) 260-6565; 
Caryn Rogoff, (212) 663-3887; or Daniel Brooks, 
(212) 768-4480. 

• LOOKING FOR ARTISTS working in videotape 
for guest lectures. Promote your work & yourself 
through screenings & discussion. Contact Dona 
Nada Claudio, Chelsea Hotel, #223, 222 W. 23rd St., 
New York, NY; (212) 243-3700, ext. 223 (eves.). 

• ROCK & ROLL FOOTAGE of Richard Berry, the 
Kingsmen, the Sonics or others performing "Louie, 
Louie" desired for comprehensive documentary 
dealing w/ history of this infamous song. Any related 
material appreciated. Contact The Louie Project, 
c/o Eric Predoehl, Box 2430, Santa Clara, CA 
95055; (408) 749-9757. 

• VIDEOTAPES DEALING WITH HOMELESS- 
NESS & related issues sought for public access 
programming, spring 1986. Contact Julia Keydel, 
Homeless Videotape Project, 131 W. 87th St., #1B, 
New York, NY 10024; (212) 598-3702 (day)/724-9633 
(eve.). 

• THE KITCHEN will resume programming in Jan. 
1986. We are interested in independently produced 
tapes for possible screening & distribution. Vt " or 
VHS only. Send work w/ SASE to Amy Taubin. 
Video Curator, The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., New 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

• Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

• Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

■ Professional seminars and screenings 

■ Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 
AND 

■ A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 




There's strength in numbers. 



Na 



oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

□ (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



Addr 



City_ 



State_ 



■>P- 



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Telephc 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



, 



■ { 



York, NY 10011. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCER SEEKS FOOT- 
AGE relating to the NRA, Handgun Control, Inc., 
Second Amendment Foundation or subjects related 
to death in U.S. by handguns for documentary by 
filmmaker Gorman Bechard. Contact Generic Films, 
Inc., Box 2715, Waterbury, CT 06723; (203) 
756-3017. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCER SEEKS waitress 
interviews & related materials on 3 A ". Contact Rose 
Rosely, 353 College, S.E., Apt. 6, Grand Rapids, MI 
49503; (616)451-9576. 

• MODERN TALKING PICTURE SERVICE 

seeks info on film & tapes suitable for captioning for 
the deaf. Works will be evaluated by review commit- 
tee & recommendations made to U.S. Dept. of Edu- 
cation for purchase by DOE. Educators, counselors, 
distributors & others interested in submitting titles 
for consideration should send 2 catalogues &/or 
written descriptions to Linda Stephan, Modern Talk- 
ing Picture Service, Captioning/Selection Div., 5000 
Park St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33709; (813) 
545-8781. 

• VIDEOTAPES & FILMS by independent pro- 
ducers on immigration or Native Am. Indians sought 
for broadcast on WNYC-TV. Artists fee $10/min. 
Deadline: Feb. 15. Send to Art Music, Inc., 248 
Sackett St., Brooklyn, NY 11231 or call (718) 
624-3506/(212)982-0332. 

• WANTED: Home movie footage for documen- 
tary. 8mm/Super-8/16mm. Rich Borowy, Box 
14647, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 561-5740. 

• CINEMA VERITE SEEKS independent films, 
tapes, works-in-progress for programming. Enclose 



SASE w/ Vi " tape to Cinema Verite Irit'l, Inc., 444 
E. 86th St., #21 J, New York, NY 10028. 



Affordable 

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At 29th STREET VIDEO, we share your 

commitment to get the message across — 

with style, with technical proficiency and 

within budget. 

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Call Debbie or David 

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Freelancers 



• COMPUTERIZED FILM/ VIDEO BUDGET 
PREPARATION: Producer/director w/ Ikegami 
77, excellent cond. References on request. Reason- 
able per diem rates. Will travel. Computerized audio- 
visuals & more. P. Greg Alland, (212) 420-0953, 
NYC. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER/ VIDEOGRAPHER 

w/ complete 16mm pkg.; experienced in all types of 
production. Fluent French & Spanish, free to travel, 
reels available. Pedro Bonilla, (213) 454-8909, CA. 

• ACTRESS FOR VOICEOVER WORK, TRANS- 
LATOR: Spanish & French. Sample tape of work 
done for Ministry of Education of Nicaragua. R. 
Pikser, (212) 222-0865, NYC. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER AVAILABLE w/ Sony 
DXC-M3 A, new VO 6800, mics, lights & transporta- 
tion for local, national & international industrials, 
docs, theater, dance, music. Negotiable rates. J. 
Maxtone-Graham, Video Jello, (718) 636-5590, 
NYC. 

• PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/ WRITER: 8 yrs. ex- 
perience at ABC News in NYC. Also organized pro- 
duction of award-winning half-hour TV drama. M. 
Wheeler, (212) 595-5947, NYC. 

• VIDEOMAKER: Experienced TV scripting, pro- 
duction & postproduction skills. Many crew & talent 
contacts in Chicago area. J. Brooks, Box 1 108, 6151 
N. Winthrop, Chicago, IL 60640; (312) 761-7036. 




HARMONIC LABS 

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• PRODUCTION HELP: Available afternoons, 
evenings, weekends for work in Film/video produc- 
tions. Inexpensive, energetic, responsible service in 
exchange for more experience & contacts. Otie 
Brown, (212) 765-7322/210-5493 (work), NYC. 

• ORIGINAL MUSIC & L YRICS for film & video. 
Composing & production, free demo. Dennis 
Rivellino, Media Music Productions, (914) 759-5734, 
NY. 

• COMPLETE 16MM PRODUCTIONS AVAIL- 
ABLE: Take ideas from start to Finish. Arriflex, 
Nagra, Vt " video editing. High quality, low rates. 
Animation available. Cine-image, (609) 881-6612, 
NJ. 

• QUANTEL PAINTBOX: Top-of-the-line, user 
friendly graphics computer is available to artists at 
very reduced rates on stand-by basis. Fee includes 
operator &/or instruction. Also rehearsal & per- 
formances documented on high quality Vi ". $35. Jill, 
(212)929-7434, NYC. 

• PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Experience w/ 
commercial shoots, video sale to the public, Vt" 
video camera. Certified Mobil laser operator. Back- 
ground in still nature & wildlife photography. 
Driver's license. Willing to work on documentaries or 
features for reasonable pay. Willing to travel. Bar- 
bara, (516) 829-9829, NY. 

• PRODUCTIONS IN WASHINGTON, DC: Pro- 
ducer/director & local Emmy-winning editor team 
up w/ researcher/writer to form Blandburg Produc- 
tions, Inc. Tighten your budget, we'll manage your 
production in DC. We offer full production crew & 
individual skills. Vic Blandburg, Blandburg Produc- 
tions, Inc., Box 2254, Merrifield, VA 22116; (703) 
849-8599. 



GLOBAL VILLAGE 

ARTIST- 

IN-RESIDENCE 

GRANTS PROGRAM 

Global Village announces its 
4th round of Production and 
Post Production grants for 
1986 to 3-5 video artists in 
the Tri-State area. Grants 
range from $500 to $5000 
worth of equipment time, 
production advice, distribu- 
tion and promotion services. 
A wide range of work includ- 
ing documentaries, drama, 
and videoart are considered. 
A panel of vitieomakers will 
award the grants. 

DEADLINE for submissions: 

February 28, 1986. 

Call Celia at (212) 966-7526 

for an application. 

This program is made possible with 

funding from the New York State 

Council on the Arts and the National 

Endowment for the .Arts. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



31 



INDEPENDENT 
BOOKSHELF 

Don't look any further for essential 
media tomes. These titles are available 
at AIVF. 

The Independent Film & Video 
Makers Guide 

by Michael Wiese, $14.95 

How To Prepare Budgets for Film & 
Video 

by Michael Wiese, $14.95 

Selected Issues in Media Law 

by Michael F. Mayer, $2.50 

Get The Money & Shoot 

by Bruce Jackson, $15.00 

Copyright Primer 

by Joseph B. Sparkman, $3.50 

Independent Feature Film 
Production 

by Gregory Goodell, $7.95 

Film & Video Service Profiles 

Center for Arts Information 
$6.75 (video) 

The AIVF Guide to Distributors 

by Wendy Lidell, Mary Guzzy 
$7.00 members, $8.95 non-members 

ShipShape Shipping 

by Wendy Lidell, Victoria Cammarota 
$3.00 

To order by mail, add $TOO to the 
price of each book to cover postage 
and handling. Make checks payable 
to AIVF and mail to: AIVF Books, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor. New York, NY 
10012. 



INSURE YOUR EQUIPMENT 

With a membership in AIVF, you can insure 
your valuable equipment — and protect yourself 
from loss and damage to rented equipment. 

• Rate is $2.50 per $100 of value 

• Minimum premium $250 

• $250 deductible per occurrence 

• Automatic $2,500 coverage of rented/ 
leased equipment 

For an application write Andrea Estepa, 
Membership Director, AIVF, 625 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10012. 



• CINEMATOGRAPHER/ LIGHTING CAM- 
ERAMAN: 35 BL & 16 SR, super speed primes & 
zoom lenses. Reasonable rates. Vini, Film Friends, 
(212) 620-0084, NYC. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER: Chicago/Midwest location, 
w/ Sony M3 camera & broadcast gear. Available to 
shoot news, commercial, theater/dance, locations. 
Complete ENG pkg. & crew as needed. Demo reel 
avail. Bob Hercules, (312) 772-0718, IL. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER: Vi " production for cost- 
cutters. Industrial equip. Lights, 2 cameras, van, 
assemble edits. $120/day, NY, PA, MD & DE. Greg 
Savoy, (302) 478-8024, DE. 

• TRANSCRIPTION SER VICES are the only thing 
we do. Transfers, dialogue, script, public relations. 
Soundvisions, Box 2055, River Grove, IL 60171; 
(312)453-1829. 

• DIRECTOR/PRODUCER ASSISTANT: Excel- 
lent qualifications in writing research, correspon- 
dence, typing & all aspects of office procedure. Film 
& art background. Reliable, highly organized, seek- 
ing 10-12 hrs/wk. References. (212) 226-0847, NYC. 

• FILM EDITOR: Looking for work on features, 
documentaries, etc. 25 yrs. exp. Own 6-plate Steen- 
beck, work at my place or yours. Bob Machover, 
(212) 677-1401, NYC. 

• I6MM FILM CREW: Camera, sound, editor 
avail, individually or as a crew for documentary, 
educational, commercial & other work. All necessary 
equip., many awards & credits. Frasconi-Salzer 
Films, (201) 333-8695, NJ. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/ Sony M3 camera & broad- 
cast gear. Avail, to shoot news, documentary, dance, 
etc. Full ENG pkg. & crew as needed, commercial 
vehicle. Neg. rates. L. Goodsmith, (212) 989-8157, 
NYC. 

• PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE in SF/San Jose 
area avail, for film or video productions. Call or 
write Eric Predoehl, Box 2430, Santa Clara, CA 
95055; (408) 749-9757. 

• KEY LIGHT PRODUCTIONS provides com- 
plete production services from project development 
& shooting through editing. Social service media our 
specialty. Full support staff w/ field producer, 
writers, researchers, PAs, crew as needed. Broadcast 
equipment; rates neg. Contact Beth, (212) 581-9748 
or Lauren, (212) 989-8157, NYC. 

• CAMERA OPERATOR w/ complete 16mm & 
35mm pkgs., will work on your feature, documen- 
tary, music video or commercial. Contact Marek 
Albrecht, (212) 645-2057, NYC. 

• SCRIPT SUPERVISOR/CONTINUITY for 

dramatic features. Kerry Kirkpatrick, (212) 879-5241, 
NYC. 

• EXPERIENCED PHOTO RESEARCHER w/ 

unusual sources, int'l contacts & archival experience 
seeks research assignments. Call Renee Green, (201) 
420-8229, NJ. 

• VIDEO PRODUCTION: Ikegami camera w/ 
operator avail. Cable television air time avail, from 
producer/director. I will work w/ you or for you. No 
reasonable budget too small. Call P. G. Alland, (212) 
420-0953, NYC. 

• FILM TITLES SERVICES: Camera-ready art 
&/or shooting of titles. Many typefaces, design con- 
sultation, crawls. Reasonable rates, fast service. 
(212) 460-8921, NYC. 

• COMPOSER AVAILABLE for film & video. 



Leader of critically acclaimed, recorded new jazz 
ensemble. Experience in visual art, independent pro- 
duction, collaboration, new & electronic music. 
Classically trained. Flexible & resourceful. Patrick 
Brennan, (718) 797-1239, NYC. 

• DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY/ VIDEOG- 
RAPHY: Award-winning work incl. features, com- 
mercials, network magazine shows, docs, etc. Com- 
plete 16mm pkg. Hal Landen, (914) 355-1400, NY. 

• AUDIO RECORDIST w/ Nagra 4.2L & mics 
seeks interesting & unusual employment. Paul Korn- 
blueh, (212)619-8298, NYC. 

• QUALIFIED RESEARCHER w/ extensive ar- 
chival & practical experience in period dress & allied 
decorative arts seeks film research or administrative 
work. Avail, immediately, can travel. Call Mark 
Wallis, (302) 454-8637, DE. 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• EDITOR wanted to work on feature documentary 
about Civil War. Contact James Agee Film Project, 
155 Stribling Ave., Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 
295-0262. 

• PART-TIME SALES REP wanted to develop in- 
dustry clientele for film & video services. Salary plus 
commission. R. Larsen, Film/Video Arts, 817 
Broadway, 2nd fl., New York, NY 10003; (212) 
673-9361. 

• PART- TIME INSTR UCTORS NEEDED. Spring 
& summer sessions, 16mm Film Production, Docu- 
mentary Video, Directors Project, Color Video Cam- 
eras, Screenwriting & Video Basics Production. 
Salary commensurate w/ experience. Send resume, 
cover letter to Kim Ingraham, Media Training Coor- 
dinator, Film/Video Arts, 817 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10003. 

• ANIMATOR/COLLABORATOR needed for 
20-30 min. film w/ classical music sound track. Con- 
tract Evan Alboum, 3143 Broadway, #3B, New York, 
NY 10027; (212) 866-0378. 

• CREW NEEDED: Producer/director needs good 
crew members from camera to production assistants. 
Will be doing professional quality projects in both 
35mm & 16mm. Cameraperson must have first-class 
reel to show. Also looking for 2nd-hand lighting 
equipment. Call Tony, (212) 228-4873, NYC. 

• CO-PRODUCER wanted for 1-hr documentary. 
Includes preproduction, fundraising, etc. Token pay 
initially, modest additional pay later. No students 
please. Call (212) 757-0499, NYC. 

• CAMERAPERSON w/ V* " broadcast quality 
equipment wanted for wkly public access produc- 
tion. Subject: psychological analysis of current 
events; news & talk show format. Also looking for 
nationwide access distribution. Call Steve, (212) 
242-2496, NYC. 

• INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCTION COM- 
PANY searching for completed contemporary, hu- 
manistic or suspenseful copyrighted original screen- 
play. Submit treatment or script to Breakaway Pro- 
ductions, 70 W. 82nd St., New York, NY 10024. 

• PROPOSALS FOR "FRONTLINE": PBS's wkly 
public affairs series will consider proposals on public 
policy issues from documentary producers whose 
prior work has demonstrated an ability to combine 
good journalism w/ good filmmaking. Submission 
may be either 1- or 2-pg. treatment or a rough cut of a 
completed (or near completed) film on Vi " or VHS 



32 



THE INDEPENDENT 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



cassette. Deadline for 1987 season Apr. 1, 1986. Send 
to Marrie Campbell, Series Editor, Frontline, 125 
Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134. 

• GREAT NORTHERN CABLE NETWORK is 
looking for programming from independent video- 
makers. Contact GNCN, 4020 21st Ave., Minnea- 
polis, MN 90401; (612) 394-2984. 

• VIDEO WOMEN: Cable access series focusing on 
women seeks films & tapes to cablecast 4 to 10 times 
during 2-wk period. Send publicity materials & com- 
pensation requirements to Video Women, c/o Access 
Video, 11 50 Green field Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217. 

• SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY 
(Cable 35) is now accepting works by independent 
video artists & filmmakers. V* " & 16mm considered. 
Selected works will be featured on wkly program on 
Cable 35. For info, write Special Project, Cable 35, 
BCA Dept., San Francisco, CA 94132. 

• NIGHTFLIGHT seeks short tapes & films by 
students & young artists for New Filmmakers seg- 
ment on USA Cable. Those selected will receive 
$10/min. Contact Carrie Franklin, ATI Video Ent., 
888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY; (212) 977-2300. 

• CAMPUS NETWORK, television network 
broadcasting exclusively to colleges & universities, is 
now accepting Va " videos for programming. If ac- 
cepted, producers receive $17/min. for 1-wk exhibi- 
tion period. Contact Campus Network, c/o Steve 
Amateau, 1 14 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 1001 1 ; (212) 
206-1953. 

• WOMEN MAKE MOVIES is currently screening 
material for acquisitions to expand 2 of its collec- 
tions: the Punto de Vista: Latina series & the lesbian 
collection. Documentary, narrative, animated & ex- 
perimental works produced after 1980. Contact 
Women Make Movies prior to sending work. WMM, 
19 W. 21st St., New York, NY 10010; (212) 929-6477. 

• 1986 SUMMER TEACHING: U. of Wisconsin- 
Milwaukee is taking applications for teaching 4-wk 
summer courses in experimental film/video. Dead- 
line for app. Jan. 30, 1986. Send resume to Dick 
Blau, Chair, Film Dept., UWM, Box 413, Milwau- 
kee, WI 53201. 

• FEATURE SCREENPLAYS WANTED: Recent- 
ly formed independent film production co. seeks 
quality copyrighted feature-length scripts. Interested 
in drama, comedy, spy/suspense, horror or exploita- 
tion. Send script (& SASE if you desire return) to In- 
dependent Film Ventures, Rt. 6, Box 1481, Hatties- 
burg, MS 39401. 

• COLLECTIVE FOR LIVING CINEMA offers 
internships in the following areas: programming, 
workshops, publicity & arts administration. For 
detailed information contact Lyna Shirley, Assistant 
Director, 52 White St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 
925-3926. 

• THE CENTER FOR ADVANCED FILM STU- 
DIES of the American Film Institute is accepting ap- 
plications for its 1986-87 session. The program is 
open to all film & videomakers or individuals w/ ex- 
tensive background in related fields, e.g., literature, 
theater, music, photography. Deadline: Feb. 1. Ap- 
plications avail, from American Film Institute, 
Center Admissions, Dept. C, 2021 N. Western Ave., 
Box 27999, Los Angeles, CA 90027. 



Postproduction 



\y. 



-»• 



ISmiBUTION 
LUGS 



A Ll< 



Custom MVarketing 

for the 
Independent Producer 



Call : Jeffrey Sweetbaum 
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YOU'RE REACHING THE END OF PRODUCTION 
IT'S TIME TO: 

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CREATED AND RECORDED TO YOUR IMAGES 

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• S A " EDITING/POSTPRODUCTION: Left & in- 
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



MOTION PICTURE (16 & 35MM) 

TITLES-OPTICALS-GRAPHICS 

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Post-production consultation 

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Video Cassette Duplication 



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erator, full sound mix, Ikegami & JVC cameras, 
Sony BVU & 4800 decks. Post is $40/hr. w/ editor. 
10% discount to AIVF members. Debbie or David, 
29th Street Video, (212) 594-7530, NYC. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, Super 16, 
35mm cut for regular printing, blowup, or video 
transfer. Clean work at reasonable rates. Tim Bren- 
nan, One White Glove, (718) 897-4145, NYC. 

• FILM TITLE SERVICES: Camera-ready art 
&/or shooting of titles. Many typefaces, design con- 
sultation, crawls. Reasonable rates, fast service. 
(212) 460-8921, NYC. 

• 16MM EDITING & POSTPRODUCTION: In 
sunny Oakland. 6-plate Euro-flatbed, 2 fully equip- 
ped benches & motorized synch; adjacent transfers, 
projection, narration recording & free parking. 24 
hr. access. BAVC, FAF, AIVF discount. (415) 
436-6978, CA. 

• EDITING FACILITIES: Sony 5850-RM440 4 
track audio. New equipment. Any hrs. VHS dubs. 
$30-$40/hr. Mike, (305) 554-7435, FL. 

• EDITING FACILITIES: >A" video editing for 
daily, weekly or project basis. (212) 966-6326, NYC. 

• NEG MATCHING: 16mm, 35mm. Clean, ac- 
curate. Andre, Coda Film, (212) 265-1191, NYC. 

• 'A " VIDEO EDITING AT KEY LIGHT: Edit 
your documentary, narrative, industrial, music video 
& performance tape on our new JVC editing system. 
$25-$30/hr. w/ editor. Key Light Productions, (212) 
581-0748, NYC. 

• QUALITY EDITING ROOM FOR LESS: V* " & 
VHS-to- 3 /4" w/ Convergence Super 90, Tape- 
handlers, Adda TBS, fades, time-code reader- 
generator overdubs. New equip., comfortable & 
friendly environment. Lincoln Center area. $20/hr. 
during business hrs. for AIVF members editing non- 
commercial projects. Also avail.: experienced edi- 
tors, scripting, Chyron. Hank Dolmatch TV Enter- 
prises, (212) 874-4524. 

• SOHO ONBA YOU: Kingfish Productions, direc- 
tor from New Orleans introduces full service Beta- 
cam productions & Vt " off-line editing services w/ 
red beans 'n' rice. Convenient Soho location, low 
rates for independents. (212) 925-8448, NYC. 

• FOR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck editing table. 
Reasonable rates in your workspace. (718) 625-3824, 
NYC. 

• SONY 3 A " EDITING /POSTPRODUCTION: 
5850/RM-440/5850 system; Sony dub mode, fades 
w/ pro enhancement, 4-channel stereo or mono 
sound mix, hifi stereo monitoring, DBX noise reduc- 
tion, Sony pro color monitors, % " & VHS pro dubs. 
Broadcast-experienced assistance avail. Indepen- 
dents, $20/hr. Clark Video, 405 Meadowlark Rd., 
Bloomingdale, IL 60108; (312) 894-8835. 

Publications 

• MEDIA DISTRIBUTION COOP publishes 
"Alternative Video Distribution," "Developing the 
Press Packet," "Cable TV Distribution," "New 
Sources for Writers," "Obtaining College Radio 
Play" & offers other publicity resources for musi- 
cians, mediamakers & writers. For more info, con- 
tact Rick Sheridan, 2912 Daubenbiss, #66, Soquel, 
CA 95073; (408) 462-6245, ext. 199. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS GUIDE TO 
SUPER 8: Guide to Super-8 equip., festivals & lab 
services in U.S. & Canada. $5 incl. shipping & hand- 



34 THE INDEPENDENT 



ling. Small Format Audio-Visual, Inc., 95 Harvey 
St., Cambridge, MA 02140. 

• THE VIDEO REGISTER 1985-1986: Published 
by Knowledge Industries Publications. Lists profes- 
sional video resources, incl. 900 cable access/origina- 
tion centers. $59.50 softcover. Avail, from KIP, 701 
Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604; (914) 
328-9157. 

• MEDIA NETWORK NEWSLETTER: Created 
to provide channel of communication for producers, 
programmers, distributors & activists interested in 
social issue media. Quarterly issues will incl. resource 
guides, reviews of new releases, field reports, news- 
clips, organization profiles & feature articles on 
creative political uses of media. 1st issue avail. Sub- 
scription $5 for 4 issues. Make checks payable to 
Media Network & mail to Media Network Newslet- 
ter, Box N, 208 W. 13th St., New York, NY 10011. 

• CHICAGO NEWSLETTER: Monthly publica- 
tion of Chicago Area Film & Video Network, avail, 
to members. For more info on newsletter & other 
membership services, contact CAFVN, Box 10657, 
Chicago, IL 60610; (312) 661-1828. 

• CORPORATE FOUNDATION PROFILES: 
Published by Foundation Center. Contains analy- 
tical profile of 234 company-sponsored foundations. 
Incl. foundation's statement of purpose, breakdown 
of grants by subject & sample grants. $55; 25% dis- 
count for 5 or more copies. Contact Foundation 
Center, 79 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10003; (800) 
424-9836. 

• NYC ARTS FUNDING GUIDE: 2nd edition of 
listing & profile of grant-giving NYC corporations, 
$13.95. Reference copies avail, at many NYC loca- 
tions. For more info on reference locations or to 
order, contact Center for Arts Information, 625 
Broadway, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012; (212) 
677-7548. 

• HUMAN RIGHTS FILM GUIDE: Resource 
guide to over 400 films & tapes on human rights 
issues. Cross-referenced & indexed. $7.50 postpaid. 
Contact FACETS, 1517 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL 
60614; (312) 281-9075. 

• FILM CANADIAN A 1983-1984: Canada's na- 
tional filmography. Incl. bibliographic data on over 
2,500 films, directory of Canadian producers, dis- 
tributors & over 1,500 film organizations. $20, plus 
provincial sales tax, if applicable, payable to 
Receiver General for Canada. Send to Customer 
Service, National Film Board of Canada, Box 6100, 
Sta. A, Montreal, Quebec H3C 3H5. 

• VIDEO EXHIBITION DIRECTORY: Published 
by Bay Area Video Coalition. Directory of over 50 
national exhibitors of independent media. List also 
avail, on mailing labels. Directory: $4 plus $1 postage 
& handling; labels: $7.50 plus $1 p & h. Send check or 
money order to BAVC, 1111 17th St., San Francisco, 
CA 94107; (415) 861-3282. 

Resources • Funds 

• MEDIA BUREAU has limited funds avail, for 
presentations of video or audio tapes. Requests 
should be made at least 4 weeks prior to the event. 
Appl. forms avail. For more info, contact Media 
Bureau, The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., New York, 
NY 10018; (212) 255-5793. 

• NEW YORK COUNCIL ON THE HUMANI- 
TIES Mini-Grant Program for grants up to $1,500. 
Proposal due 6 wks. before proposed event. For info, 
contact NY Council on the Humanities, (212) 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



233-1131, NYC. 

• JEROME FOUNDATION NYC Film & Video 
Program. For individual film & video artists living & 
working in NYC. Appl. may be submitted at any 
time during the year. Allow 3 to 5 mos. for review. 
For appl. procedure, contact Jerome Foundation, 
W. 2090 First National Bank Bldg., St. Paul, MN 
55101; (612) 224-9431. 

• CPB PROGRAM FUND: Open Solicitation dead- 
lines for 1986: Jan. 10 & May 2. Appl. may be obtain- 
ed from Program Fund, CPB, 1111 16th St. N.W., 
Washington, DC 20036. 

• SOUTHEAST MEDIA FELLOWSHIP PRO- 
GRAM: For independent mediamakers in AL, FL, 
KY, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN & VA. Awards 
grants up to $5,000 for production of new works & 
works-in-progress. Deadline: Feb. 1, 1986. For app. 
write SEMFP, c/o Appalshop, Box 743, Whites- 
burg, KY 41858; (606) 633-0108. 

• DISTRIBUTION TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 
PROGRAM at Film Fund offers 1-to-l assistance in 
choosing distribution strategy. For more info, con- 
tact Sam Sills, Project Coordinator, Film Fund, 80 
E. 11th St., New York, NY 10003; (212) 475-3720. 

• GRANTS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Deadline 
for fiscal sponsorship in the Film Fund GAP is Jan. 
3, 1986. Projects accepted on basis of creativity, sub- 
ject matter, fiscal responsibility & fundraising & dis- 
tribution plans. For more info, contact Alexa Bird- 
song, Film Fund, 80 E. 11th St., New York, NY 
10003; (212) 475-3720. 

• INPUT TRAVEL GRANTS: South Carolina 
ETV Network has applied to CPB for travel grants to 
INPUT, annual int'l PTV powwow to be held in 
Montreal, Apr. 6-12, 1986. Provides partial air 
travel costs to eligible candidates: producers, direc- 
tors, writers, videographerj, editors, on-line produc- 
tion personnel at PBS stations & independents who 
produce for PTV. Funds contingent on final contract 
w/ CPB. Deadline: Jan. 15; grantees announced in 
Feb. Send cover sheet w/ name, work & home ad- 
dresses & phone & ethnicity info, plus resume & sup- 
port letter from PTV administator to SCETV- 
INPUT '86, Attn: Sandie Pedlow, Drawer L, Co- 
lumbia, SC 29250; send overnight mail to 2627 Mill- 
wood Ave., Columbia, SC 29205. 

Trims • Glitches 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Gerald Saldo & AIVF 
member Joan Engel, who had excerpts from their 
award-winning documentary No Immediate Danger 
incl. in a nuclear waste segment on a Nov. CBS 60 
Minutes. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF member Jean 
Donohue for her Kentucky Arts Council $5,000 fel- 
lowship in video art. 

• KUDOS to Lauren Lazin for winning a CINE 
Eagle for her documentary The Flapper Story. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to AIVF members who 
received Film Arts Foundation film & video awards. 
Rob Epstein & Peter Adair, Songs for the Living & 
Charles Koppelman, Organizers: $1,000 in develop- 
ment funds; Susana Munoz & Lourdes Portillo, The 
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo & Trin T. Minh-ha, 
Naked Spaces: Living Is Round: $2,000- $4,000 in 
completion/distribution funds. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Robert Epstein & 
Richard Schmiechen, winners of 1985 Media Alli- 
ance Meritorious Achievement Award for film & 
video. 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



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write to: CANYON CINEMA, INC. 
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(415) 626-2255 



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experience to create exactly the music score you've been wanting. Be it 
jazz, new-wave, avant-garde or symphonic. Our musicians, engineers and 
fully equipped multi-track recording facility, including the Kurzweil 250 
music system, are among the best. So don't compromise. 

FLIP SIDE SOUND PRODUCTIONS 

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Call Jim Ball (301) 467-3547 



THE INDEPENDENT 35 



MEMORANDA 



PUT YOUR MONEY 
WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS 

AIVF members and their families in New York 
and New Jersey are now eligible to participate 
in the New York Dental Plan. 

Coverage includes: 

• Up to 50% off the cost of all dental work 
without limitations or restrictions 

• One free check-up including x-rays, clean- 
ing, and an examination 

• Free consultation with a plan specialist 

• Large savings on all speciality work in- 
cluding periodontics, orthodontics, en- 
dodontics, oral surgery, implants, and 
cosmetic dentistry 

Coverage is accepted by over 800 top, private 
offices throughout New York State and New 
Jersey. 

Rates are as follows: 

Individuals $55/year 

Couples/2 Household members $95/year 

Family (up to 4 members) $145/year 

For more information, write or call AIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th fl, New York, NY 10012; (212) 
473-3400. 

HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

AIVF now offers its members an excellent 
Group Life & Medical Insurance Plan. 
Highlights include: 

•$1,000,000 Major Medical Plan, which pays 
85% of all eligible expenses not covered by the 
Basic Plan 

•$10,000 Group Life and $10,000 Group Ac- 
cidental Death or Dismemberment Insurance 
•Partial psychiatric coverage 
•Reimbursement for illness, injury & hospital 
expenses. 

•If you are a member, write: AIVF Health 
Plan, TEIGIT, 551 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 
10017. If you're not, call AIVF at (212) 473-3400 
and ask for free membership & health plan 
brochures. 



BERLIN FILM MARKET 

AIVF may be attending the Berlin Film Festival 
this year, February 14-25 . If so, we may also be in 
a position to screen, for a fee, a limited number of 
AIVF members' feature length narrative and 
documentary films in the market that accom- 
panies the festival. If you would be interested in 
having a film screened in the market, phone 
Robert Aaronson at AIVF, (212) 473-3400, 
before January 15. 

36 THE INDEPENDENT 



SHIP-SHAPE SHIPPING 

by Wendy Lidell & Victoria Cammarota, 16 pp. 

Everything you wanted to know about transporting your films & 

tapes overseas . . . but were afraid to ask. 

• Post Office regulations 

• International price charts 

• Private shipping services 

• Timetables 

• Important addresses 

$3.00 plus $1 .00 postage and handling, payable to FIVF 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 

An FIVF publication 



NOTA BENE 

The Independent's Notices are undergoing renovations. Over 
the past few years this section of the magazine has expanded 
as our membership has grown. Because of the increased length 
and the accompanying increases in production costs for the 
magazine, we have decided to institute several changes that 
will make the column more practical and help offset the 
expenses. The section titled "Editing Facilities" has been 
renamed "Postproduction." All notices related to editing, 
negative matching, sound transfers, and other postproduction 
services now appear in this section. Preproduction, production, 
and other film and videomaking services are listed under 
"Freelancers." 

In the March 1986 issue we will divide the Notices into two 
categories: Classifieds and Notices. The new Classifieds column 
will include all listings now appearing under the 
"Buy •Rent* Sell," "Freelancers," and "Postproduction" 
headings. There will be a $15 charge and 250 character limit for 
each entry for one issue. Listings in these sections will be 
restricted to members only. Anyone wishing to run a classified 
ad more than once must pay for each insertion and indicate the 
number of issues on the submitted copy. Each classified must 
be typed, double-spaced, and worded exactly as it should 
appear. Remember the 250 character restriction (approximately 
5 lines) . All submissions must be accompanied by a check or 
money order, payable to FIVF — no cash, please. And no 
classifieds will be accepted by telephone. 

Deadlines for Notices and Classifieds will be respected. These 
are the 8th of each month, two months prior to the cover date 
of the issue., e.g., December 8 for the March issue. Members 
should keep in mind the dates of our double issues: 
January /February and August/ September. Mail classifieds to: 
Independent Classifieds, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012. 



JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1986 



COMING AGAIN SOON 




The 



^ Independents ^" 



. . .the only national television showcase 
for independent productions! 

The Learning Channel is pleased to announce that it will produce 
two new series under the umbrella title "The Independents," 
with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Founda- 
tion and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

"Agenda" and "Dis/Patches," the first two series produced by TLC, 
were nominated for ACE's, the cable television industry's most 
prestigious programming award. The series have been aired on TLC 
and on PBS stations reaching an estimated audience of some 50 
million viewers. 

If you are an independent producer and are interested in more 
information on the new series, send a postcard with your name and 
address to The Independents, c/o The Learning Channel, 1414 22 nd 
Street NW, Washington, DC 20037 (no phone calls, please). Detailed 
information and entry forms will be mailed to you on or before 
February 1, 1986. 





Learning 

Channel 



FPA 

Presents: 

Expert Titles + Animation 

"Smithereens" 

"Seeing Red" 

"Atomic Cafe" 

And many, many more! 




w^w 




£' UU '° W 




Film Planning Associates 38 E. 20th St. NYC 10003 (212) 260-7140 



FIRST ANNUAL 

MEDIA 
NETWORK 

FILM 

FESTIVAL 

New fiction and documentary films 
on the critical issues of today. 



FILMS, PERFORMANCES & SPEAKERS 

Call 620-0877 for information 

March 4, 5, 7, 8 at 8pm 

(Saturday Matinee at 2pm) 

TOWN HALL 

123 West 43rd St, NYC 
Tickets $25, $10 (tax deductible) 



Programs on: 

APARTHEID & RACISM, CENTRAL 

AMERICA, LABOR, WOMEN'S 

ISSUES, & ANTI-SEMITISM 



Do you want to make films 

or 

sit in a classroom? 

If you want to make films, our 
interdisciplinary 8-week summer 
M.F.A. program is for you. 

Refine your craft while earning an 
M.F.A. in Filmmaking. The writers, 
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Be an independent 
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Summer 1986: June 30-August 22 

Milton O^very Graduate 

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For a descriptive I>kh hiiic .mil application write: 

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MOVING? 
LET US 
KNOW 



It takes four to six 
weeks to process an 
address change, so 
please notify us in 
advance. 



FIVF 

625 Broadway. 9th floor 

New York, NY 10012 



NON-PROFIT ORG. 
U.S. POSTAGE 

PAID 
New York, N.Y. 
Permit No. 7089 



MARCH 1986 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



;2,oo 





TALKING UNION 



MEDIA AND THE BRITISH MINERS' STRIKE 
SAG AND INDEPENDENTS 



NISSAN PRESENTS 




TENTH ANNUAL F ILM AWARDS 



This could be your ticket to Hollywood! 
Enter the Tenth Annual FOCUS Film 
Competition. 

This is your chance of a lifetime to 
make your break, win your share of over 
$60,000 in cash prizes and Nissan 
automobiles and gain recognition in 
the film community 

Enter your best work now. * This may 
be a unique opportunity for you. 



'The em ry you submit must have been produced on a non- 
commercial bests while you were enrolled in a US college, 
university, art institute ot prole ssional lilm school 




NARRATIVE 
FILM 



Finished 16mm film. $4, 500 awarded 

in cash prizes. First place winner 

receives a new Nissan Sentra. 

SPONSORED BY AMBLIN 

ENTERTAINMENT, 

INC. Board of Judges: 

Joe Dante, Nina Foch, 

Randal Kleiser, 

Steven Lisberger, 

Robert Zemeckis. 



DOCUMENTARY 
FILM 



Finished Emm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First place winner 
receives a new Nissan Sentra. 
SPONSORED BY HOME BOX OFFICE 
Board of Judges: Michael Apt ed, 
Saul Bass, Ellen 
Hovde, Warren Miller, 
Humberto Rivera. 

ir 




ANIMATED/ 
EXPERIMENTAL FILM 



Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded in 
cash prizes. First place winner receives 
a new Nissan Sentra. SPONSORED BY 
UNIVERSAL PICTURES. Board of 
Judges: John Canemaker, 
Ed Hansen, 
Faith Hubley 
Chuck Jones, 
Jay Sarbry 



FILM 
EDITING 



Canemaker, ^^^^ 



SCREENWRITING 



Original feature-length screenplays. 
$4,500 awarded in cash prizes. First 
place winner receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. SPONSOBED BY COLUMBIA 
PICTURES. Board of Judges: 
MansaBerke, Tony Bill, Syd Field, 
Bruce Gilbert, 
Anne Kramer. 




SOUND 
ACHIEVEMENT 



Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 

SPONSOBED BY DOLBY 

LABORATORIES INC. Board of Judges: 
Jim Corbett, 
Donald Mitchell, 
Frank Warner. 




Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 
SPONSORED BYBENIHANA OF 
TOKYO, INC. Board of Judges: 
Lynzee Klmgman, 
Carol Littleton, 
Bichard 'Marks. 



'NIHANAOF 

of Judges: ^^0 




CINEMATOGRAPHY 



Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 
SPONSOBED BY EASTMAN 
**+ KODAKCOMPANY. 

^^F^^ Board of Judges 
^k B ^L John Bailey, 

m ^A ^L w 'l jiamA < rake, > 
WfA^P A.S.C 

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WOMEN IN FILM 
FOUNDATION AWARD 



Finished 16mm film or feature-length 

screenplay. $1,000 prize. SPONSORED 

BY MAX FACTOR & CO. 

Board of Judges: 

Judy James, llene 

Kahn, Margot 

Winchester. 



RENEEVALENTE 
PRODUCERS AWARD 




InhonorofBenee Valente, President 
of the Producers Guild of America. 
Finished Emm film. $1,000 prize. 
Board of Judges: 
Renee Valente. 



inca. 

nze. A^ 




INSTITUTIONAL 
AWARDS 



The corresponding college or university 
of the first-place winners of the 
narrative, documentary and animated/ 
experimental categories of FOCUS will 
receive $ 1, 000 in Eastman motion 
picture film and video 
tape from EASTMAN 
KODAKCOMPANY 
for their film 
department's use. 



PREMIERE AND AWARD 
CEREMONY 



All winners will be flown, expenses 
paid, to Los Angeles for the FOCUS 
Premiere and Award Ceremony, to 
be held August 27, 1986 
Accommodations will be provided by 
THE SHERATON PREMIERE HOTEL 
in Universal City. 



COMPETITION 
DEADLINE: 
May 2, 1986 



Get a complete set of rules from 
your English, Film or Communications 
Department. Or write to: FOCUS, 
1140 Avenue of the Americas, 
New York, New York 10036 
12121575-0270 



NISSAN PRESENTS 

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BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Lewis Allen ■ John Avildsen ■ John Badham ■ Ingmar Bergman ' Tony Bill* Mitchell Block ■ Barbara Boyle ■ James Coburn * Jules Dassin ■ John Davis * Bobert DeNtro ■ 
Stanley Donen ■ Bichard Edlund, A. S. C ■ Federico Felltm ■ Miles Forman ■ Bob Fosse * John Frankenhetmer ■ Bobert Getchell " Bruce Gilbert ■ Taylor Hackford ■ Ward Kimball ■ Herbert Kline ■ Arthur 
Knight ■ Barbara Kopple ■ Jennings Lang ■ David Lean ■ Jack Lemmon *~Lynne Human ■ Sidney Lumet ■ Frank Perry ■ Sydney PolJack ■ Ivan Reitman ■ Bun Beyno/ds ■ Gene Boddenberry ■ Herbert 
Boss * David E. Salzman ■ John Schlestnger ■ George C. Scott • Stirling Silliphant ■ Joan Micklm Silver ■ Neil Simon ■ Steven Spielberg * Peter Strauss * Saul Turell* Jerry Weintraub ■ Gene S Weiss * 
Bruce Williamson 'Bobert Wise ■ Frederick Wiseman ■ David Wolper* Peter Yates* Charlotte Zwertn. HONORARY CHAIRPERSON: Benee Valente. ADMINISTRATION: TRG Communications, Inc. 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INDEPENXNr 



MARCH 1986 
VOLUME 9, NUMBER 2 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Debra Goldman 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Andrea Estepa 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St.. 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film. Inc. (FIVF). 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York. NY 1G012, (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1986 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa, membership services; 
Charlayne Haynes. program director; Sol Horwitz. 
Short Film Showcase project administrator; Debra 
Goldman, Short Film Showcase administrative 
assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter. 
president; Christine Choy, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Brenda Webb, secretary; Joyce 
Bollnger, treasurer; St. Clair Bourne; Loni Ding, Pearl 
Bowser; Howard Petrlck Robin Reidy; Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio); Barton Weiss. 

MARCH 1986 




CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

16 Talking Union: SAG and Independents 

by Lucinda Furlong 

19 Class Lines: The Miners' Campaign Videotapes 

by Martha Gever 

2 LETTERS 

4 MEDIA CLIPS 

Border Guards 

by Debra Goldman 

The Battle of the Budget 

by Renee Tajima 

Headwaters Makes Waves 

Coalition Takes Two Steps Forward . . . 

Artfilm Database 

London Bridges 

by Rob Edelman 

Changes in the A.I.R. 
Work in Progress 

Rock of Ages 

by Judith L. Radler 

New Venue for ICA's Cinema 

lO FIELD REPORT 

Fair Market Values: 1985 Station Program Cooperative 
Convenes 

by Peter Broderick 

13 IN FOCUS 

Daybreak in the Digital Era: SMPTE '85, Part I 

by David Leitner 

27 BOOK REVIEW 

Third Cinema in the Third World: The Aesthetics of 
Liberation 

reviewed by Allan Siegel 

29 FESTIVALS 

Munich's Munificence 

by Deborah Lefkowitz 

Veni, Vidi Venice 

by Jeffrey Kimball 

In Brief 

35 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Andrea Estepa 

36 SUMMARY OF AIVF BOARD MEETING 
38 CLASSIFIEDS 

41 NOTICES 

44 MEMORANDA 



COVER: The year-long British miners' strike was the impetus for an unprecedented media proj- 
ect by the nation's Independent videomakers In support of the action, "The Miners' Campaign 
Videotapes." Series tapes like "Straight Speaking? The Facts Behind the Miners' Strike" portrayed 
and successfully disseminated a view decidedly different from the establishment media. In her 
essay and interview with British independents Karen Ingham and James Morgan, Martha Gever 
looks at the tapes' political Impact, aesthetics, and production methods. 

THE INDEPENDENT 1 



LETTERS 



POINTS OF ORDER 



To the editor: 

Charlayne Haynes's article "For the Cultural Boy- 
cott of South Africa" [January/February 1986] was 
excellent. Now we must do the work. We must make 
our cultural institutions divest fully. Except for dif- 
ferences in power and scope, South Africa's racism is 
just as evil as Hitler's. 

Example: the December 1986 issue of American 
Film had Whoopi Goldberg on its cover and de Beers 
("A Diamond Is Forever") on its inside cover. A con- 
tradiction one thousandth of an inch thick is morally 
thicker, much thicker. How much did de Beers pay 
for that ad? Will the publisher of American Film tell 
us what will happen now? 

Example: the New York Review Books. It published 
the de Beers ad. I asked it to cancel my subscription 
and send the remainder to Jerry Falwell. It sent me a 
check. NYR also published an editorial statement 
defending its right to publish the de Beers ad. Would 
it have taken ads from Hitler's munitions trust? Would 
NYR have defended its right to publish the ads of a cor- 
poration of the Argentine junta? The Lutheran Church 
has done a good job of itemizing what de Beers means 
in terms of death and exploitation. 



We do need a boycott of every product from South 
Africa. AIVF should consider asking the United Na- 
tions to sponsor a conference of cultural workers to 
find ways of creating an effective international 
boycott. 

— Emile de A ntonio 
New York City 

FESTIVAL POLITICS 



To the editor: 

In an article on the Berlin International Film Festival 
[November 1985], Manfred Salzgeber, the Director of 
the Information Section for the festival is quoted: "We 
don't show aggressive films or films that distort 
history, such as The Deer Hunter, which has scenes of 
American prisoners being held and tortured in tiger 
cages, when in reality it was the U.S. soldiers who did 
such things to their prisoners." This statement is totally 
false. Manfred Salzgeber denies any political criteria 
for the festival: "There is space for critical films from 
all sides, as long as they are not false [emphasis mine] . " 
I hope this Orwellian Director of Information pays 
closer attention to films than he does to history. 

— Richard Dudley 
New York City 



MEMBER DISCOUNTS 

AIVF is pleased to announce a discount pro- 
gram of film and video production services 
for its memPers. The companies listed below 
will offer discounts to AIVF members upon 
presentation of a memPership card. We 
hope that this program will foster closer 
cooperation between independent pro- 
ducers and companies that provide pro- 
duction services. 

Indiefex 

Randal Alan Goya 

949 Amsterdam Avenue. #4N 
New York. NY 
(212) 678-7989 

10% discount on sound FX, dubbing and 
foleys. 

Aegis Productions 
Michael Posch 

144 E. 39th Street 
New York. NY 
(212) 684-0810 

10% discount on animation photography 
services 

Tenth Street Production Group 
Alan Schaaf, President 

147 Tenth St. 

San Francisco, CA (415) 621-3395 

10% discount on all lighting and grip rentals 

2 THE INDEPENDENT 



and on all location scouting/production 
manager services. Negotiable rates on all 
other production personnel/services and 
eauipment. Free telephone consultations re: 
local permits/fees and other shooting re- 
auirements/possibilities. 

National Video Industries, Inc. 
Louise Diamond, Operations Manager 

15 West 17th Street 
New York, (212) 691-1300 

Negotiable discounts on studio production 
facilities, remote production packages, 
postproduction and screening facilities, 
transfer and duplication. Package deals 
availaPle. 

TVC Labs 

Roseann Schaeffer, VP Sales 

311 West 43 St. 

New York (212) 397-8600 

NegotiaPle discounts on services. 

Camera Mart 

Leo Rosenberg, Rental Manager 

456 West 55 St. 

New York (212) 757-6977 

20% discount on all rentals of film and video 
eguipment with some specific exceptions. 
Larger discounts may be available for rent- 
als of long duration or for favorable pay- 
ment terms. 



Raflk 

814 Broadway 

New York (212) 475-9HO 

25% discount on straight rental of screening 
room, rentals on cameras and sales of used 
videocassettes. 15% discount on use of 
editing facilities. All other supplies at dis- 
count rates; special deals available. 

Rough Cut Video Services 
Mark Fischer 

129 West 22 St. 

New York (212) 242-1914 

10% across-the-board discount on all serv- 
ices, including %" productions, 3 W editing 
and VHS to 3 /a " transfers. 

Square 12 Video Post-Production 
Bob Wlegand 

16 Greene St. 

New York (212) 925-6059 

lO % discount. 

National Video Industries, Inc. 
Louise Diamond, Operations Manager 

15 West 17 Street 

New York, (212) 691-1300 

NegotiaPle discounts on studio production 
facilities, remote production and screening 
facilities, transfer, and duplication. Package 
deals available. 

Fine Line Productions 
Mark Freeman 

3181 A Mission Street 

San Francisco, CA 94HO, (415) 821-9946 

15% discount on Vi " equipment and editing 
facility rentals. Preproduction consultation 
services, screening facility, and 3 A " to VHS 
dubbing also available. 

KLW International, Inc. 

Kevin L. Weakland, Consultant 

408Kathleen Ave. 

Cinnaminson, NJ 08077, (609) 786-8486 

50% discount on consulting services for: 
location scounting, crew scouting, talent 
booking, financing, research. 

Bill Creston 

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MARCH 1986 



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MEDIA CLIPS 



BORDER GUARDS 



Since the Reagan administration settled in 
Washington, the United States Information 
Agency has generated more than its share of 
headlines. There was the notorious blacklist 
designed to exclude liberal undesirables like Ted 
Kennedy from USIA-recommended speakers' 
lists, director Charles Wick's secret tapes of tele- 
phone conversations, and the ups and downs of 
controversial Radio Marti. Now this penchant 
for making news has reached one of the USIA's 
most obscure programs. 

Every year the agency gives thousands of Cer- 
tificates of Educational Character to documen- 
taries bound for foreign audiences. This somber- 
sounding certificate is no empty honorary title, 
but determines an exported film's qualification 
for exemption from custom duties at the border. 
All but 20 or 30 films a year pass muster. In ac- 
cordance with the rules, rejects usually have been 
entertainment-oriented films or corporate and 
product promotions disguised as information. 
However, since Wick and company took over 
the agency, the profile of rejected films has taken 
on a distinctly ideological cast. Films like Save 
the Planet, In Our Own Backyards, and Peace: 
A Conscious Choice were deemed uneducation- 
al because they presented a "point of view" and 
were liable to be "misunderstood by those lack- 
ing American points of reference." Producers 
have suspected that "point of view" was a code 
for a view objectionable to the administration. 
In an action initiated by Backyards coproducer 
Susanna Styron, 15 producers and distributors 
of films denied certificates and the Association 
of Independent Video and Filmmakers have 
filed suit against Wick and USIA chief attesta- 
tion officer John Mendenhall, challenging the 
constitutionality of the agency's criteria in grant- 
ing certificates. 

In part, the argument of the plaintiffs is based 
on the wording of the Beirut Agreement, the 40- 
year-old, 30-nation international treaty that 
created the exemption. The original treaty states 
that films will be exempt "when their primary 
purpose or effect is to instruct or inform" and 
when they are "representative, authentic and ac- 
curate." The USIA, chosen to administer the 
treaty in this country, embellishes these criteria 
by adding that the agency does not certify mate- 
rial "which by special pleading attempts] gen- 
erally to influence opinion, conviction or policy" 
or which "may lend itself to misinterpretation or 
misrepresentation of the United States or other 
countries." David Cole of the nonprofit Center 
for Constitutional Rights, attorney for the plain- 
tiffs, insisted these added criteria were unjusti- 
fied, declaring, "You can't require a filmmaker 

4 THE INDEPENDENT 



Although the USIA 
review board claim- 
ed "Secret Agent" 
showed "the Ameri- 
can system at Its 
best," the filmmakers' 
suit challenges all 
content-based gov- 
ernment decisions. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



to make a balanced film. The Beirut Agreement 
says nothing about balance." 

Who decides whether a film has a point of 
view? Longstanding USIA procedure requires 
that questionable films be sent to "outside spe- 
cialists" qualified to judge a work's educational 
character. In practice, this has sometimes meant 
that a government agency criticized in a film 
passes judgement on its accuracy. In Our Own 
Backyard's account of uranium mining received 
thumbs down from the now-defunct Reagan ad- 
ministration Department of Energy. Soldier 
Girls, a documentary on women Army recruits, 
was nixed by the Defense Department. (It was 
later granted a certificate on appeal.) Although 
ABC News is not a plaintiff in the suit against the 
USIA, its 1979 toxic waste documentary The 
Killing Ground was refused a certificate by Ann 
Gorsuch's Environmental Protection Agency, 
which claimed the advances in toxic waste dis- 
posal rendered the film "mainly of historical in- 
terest." But no federal agency worried that the 




WIT UO 



Edison Electric Institute's To Catch a Cloud: A 
Thoughtful Look At Acid Rain or Radiation — 
Naturally, sponsored by the Atomic Industrial 
Forum, might be "misunderstood" by foreign 
audiences. 

Refusal of certification, Cole observed, "is 
not a stamp of disapproval. It does much more 
concrete harm." John Hoskyns-Abrahall of the 
distribution company Bullfrog Films, which 
handles two uncertified films, In Our Own Back- 
yards and Peace: A Conscious Choice, ex- 
plained, "It's the policy of the dealers we do 
business with that they will not take a film that 
does not have certification. The custom duties 
are not that great, but they must be paid on pre- 
view prints as well as the film itself. These dealers 
don't want to hassle with customs or incur the 
extra expense." The problem is compounded, he 
added, by a strong dollar that has already put the 
cost of U.S. films "out of line." Plaintiff Charles 
Light, coproducer and, through Green Moun- 
tain Post Films, distributor of Save the Planet, 

MARCH 1986 



reported that he had made foreign sales, but "it's 
difficult to say what the figures would be if we 
had a certificate." 

The suit, however, does not seek damages; its 
purpose is to overturn the regulations them- 
selves. Thus a film on dioxin, Secret Agent, is in- 
cluded in the suit although a review board decid- 
ed on appeal its "point of view" was acceptable 
because the film "showed the American 'system' 
at its best." Cole countered, "If the government 
makes any decision on the basis of content, it's 
unconstitutional." 

The USIA has 60 days from date of filing to 
reply to the suit in court. Although the action has 
received wide publicity, including a segment on 
Entertainment Tonight, the USIA has declined 
public comment on the case. The agency has not 
only weathered similar bad press since Wick 
became director, it has prospered under the film- 
conscious Reagan administration. A boost in 
budget from $457-million to $796-million has 
bought a proliferation of programs and attract- 
ed the relatively funds-starved National Endow- 
ment for the Arts. "The arts rank very high with 
us," enthused Wick in a flattering portrait pub- 
lished in NEA's glossy official organ, Arts Re- 
view. Artists like once blacklisted Arthur Miller, 
Toni Morrison, and Twyla Tharp now share the 
electronic podium with George Shultz on 
WORLDNET, Wick's ambitious television net- 
work linking Washington to U.S. embassies and 
foreign journalists. In July, Wick and NEA chair 
Frank Hodsoll signed a joint agreement to ex- 
pand the United States's presence at foreign arts 
festivals. And the NEA serves as advisor in the 
selection for the agency's cultural exchange pro- 
gram, Arts America. If art were value-free, such 
collaborations would be simple pragmatics, but, 
as the filmmakers' suit demonstrates, the 
USIA's practices are guided by a very definite 
point of view. 

— Debra Goldman 



THE BATTLE OF THE BUDGET 

In the pre-Christmas flurry of legislation, the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting got a hefty 
FY '88 appropriation of $214-million, up from 
the 1986 level of $159.5-million. But the con- 
troversial Gramm-Rudman bill, signed into law 
at the same time, may mean future cuts as early 
as 1987 for CPB, the National Endowments for 
the Arts and Humanities, and other agencies 
that provide funding for cultural projects. 

The new law, sponsored by Senators Phil 
Gramm (R-Texas), Warren B. Rudman (R-New 
Hampshire), and Ernest F. Hollings (D-South 
Carolina) mandates a balanced federal budget 
by 1991 through annual reductions in a deficit 
that now amounts to over $200-billion. Gramm- 

MARCH 1986 



Rudman is activated as a last resort if budgets 
passed by Congress and approved by the Presi- 
dent don't achieve specified spending reduc- 
tions. In that case, all federal programs — 
with certain exceptions like Social Security — will 
take equal, across the board cuts, half coming 
from the domestic budget and half from the 
military. 

This potential slice into military spending, 
however, has generated opposition to this politi- 
cally popular bill from some of the bigger guns in 
the Reagan administration, including defense 
secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, secretary of 
state George P. Shultz, and Central Intelligence 
Agency director William J. Casey. And even 
before 1985 ended Representative Mike Synar 
(D-Oklahoma) filed a lawsuit challenging the 
constitutionality of the bill. Synar argues that the 
generic cuts automatically triggered by the ad- 
ministration if the budget fails to meet deficit 
targets infringe on congressional power to enact 
the federal budget line-by-line. 

In another twist in the brief but stormy history 
of Gramm-Rudman, the Justice Department 
asked the United States District Court to dismiss 
Synar's suit on technical grounds, while, at the 
same time, attorney general Edwin Meese III 
sent a letter to Congress agreeing with Synar's 
challenge to the law's constitutionality. Whether 
or not Gramm-Rudman can survive a test in 
court remains open to speculation. 

With or without Gramm-Rudman, public 
television will continue to fight an uphill battle 
for federal dollars. The Office of Management 
and Budget, in its proposal to the administration 
for FY '87, released in December, recommended 
a step-down of CPB funding to a paltry 
$60-million by 1991. After unsuccessfully ap- 
pealing to OMB not to lower its funding levels, 
CPB has turned to President Reagan for relief. 
CPB vice-president/treasurer Donald E. Ledwig 
stated in a letter to Reagan, "These proposals 
appear to be disproportional even to the repor- 
ting requirements of the Gramm-Rudman- 

Hollings law We believe OMB's proposals 

are inconsistent, unrealistic and damaging." 
OMB press spokesperson Ed Dale declined to 
comment on the pending budget, which will be 
presented to the President on February 3. 

CPB's future has been hanging in the balance 
since Reagan vetoed a 1984 Congressional 
authorization of the Corporation's budget for 
FY '87-'89. (Because of its funding cycles, 
public television usually gets authorizations 
covering a three-year period.) According to 
Laura Ginsberg of the CPB Office of Corporate 
Communications, Congress then invented the 
now-defunct budget reconciliation device — in- 
cluding high authorizations for CPB through 
1991 — which was to be resurrected during the 
1986 session until it was killed by the passage of 
Gramm-Rudman last December. 

Public broadcasting will need all the support it 
can get in its fight for adequate funding, particu- 



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larly with the loss of key backer Senator Barry 
Goldwater (R- Arizona), who will not run for 
reelection in 1986, and the possible loss of Con- 
gressman Timothy Wirth (D-Colorado) — a 
longtime advocate for independent producers — 
who plans to run for Gary Hart's Senate seat this 
year. 

— Renee Tajima 



HEADWATERS MAKES 
WAVES 

Appalachian Headwaters TV has been contract- 
ed by the Kentucky Educational Television net- 
work to produce a second series of cultural and 
documentary programs for audiences in the 
Southeast. The series is being presented by a con- 
sortium that includes KET, Blue Ridge Public 
TV (Roanoke, Virginia), WSWP (Beckley, West 
Virginia), and WSJK (Knoxville, Tennessee). 
The remarkable task of putting together a con- 
sortium of public television stations to support 
an independently-produced, community-based 
series was accomplished by Appalshop, the 
media arts center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Ap- 
palshop first created Headwaters in 1979 to pro- 
vide a weekly show for WKYH, the NBC affili- 
ate in nearby Hazard, Kentucky. But by 1983 
Headwaters faced the familiar spectre of budget 
cuts and looked for new ways to keep afloat. 

The first boon came as a deal with KET, which 
agreed to provide engineering services, tape 
stock, and small rental payments in exchange for 
each show. KET has been scheduling Head- 
waters during prime time hours and, as part of 
the agreement, provides ample promotion for 
the series. In order to get the other stations to 
participate, Appalshop director Dee Davis says, 
"We just asked them." As a result of the consor- 
tium, Headwaters 's audience has grown from an 
estimated 100,000 in the environs of Hazard to a 
potential viewership of five million in four states. 

"It's been interesting for us," says Davis, 
"because we always figured that the bad part of 
public television is the individual stations, and 
the good part is national PBS. It's really not that 
way." Even with its public television partners, 
Headwaters has been able to retain a mix of cul- 
tural and political themes in the content of its 
shows. The only retrenchment occurred when 
Appalshop decided to cut the number of pro- 
grams from 26 per year to seven — a sacrifice of 
quantity in order to improve production values 
and quality. Productions set for the 1986 season 
include Mabel Parker Hardison Smith, a profile 
of a black teacher from Big Stone Gap; shows 
about school desegregation, strip mining, and 
regional theater; and a documentary that ex- 
amines the parallels between Bhopal, India, the 
site of last year's disastrous leak at a Union Car- 



THE INDEPENDENT 



bide plant, and Institute, West Virginia, the east- 
ern region's Chemical Valley. 

For the most part, the Headwaters shows are 
two-person productions, made by founder Anne 
Johnson, working as producer and sometime 
sound recordist, and Andy Garrison, hired as a 
full-time cameraperson through a Ford Founda- 
tion grant last July. Some shows, such as the 
Bhopal/Institute tape, which is being produced 
by Appalshop's Mimi Pickering, are funded sep- 
arately but shown on Headwaters. Next year 
Appalshop hopes to simulcast the series in each 
of the local broadcast areas during prime time 
hours. And last month Appalshop moved be- 
yond the Appalachians when the Rotterdam 
Film Festival in Holland paid a special tribute to 
the group, presenting daily screenings dubbed 
"an Appal a day." 

— RT 



COALITION TAKES TWO 
STEPS FORWARD . . . 

The old business agenda produced good and bad 
news for independents at the December 1985 
meeting of the National Coalition of Indepen- 
dent Public Broadcasting Producers and the 
Program Fund staff of the Corporation of 
Public Broadcasting. Plans for a supplemental 
promotion fund, under discussion for over a 
year, were finalized. CPB has agreed to set aside 
$200,000 for advertising and promotion, of 
which at least $50,000 will be reserved for pro- 
motional support grants to independent and 
minority productions. Producers can apply for 
mini-grants of $3-6,000 for promotion both 
within the system and to the public. Guidelines 
for the grants will be included with CPB con- 
tracts when mailed to CPB grant recipients. 
Among the costs covered by the grants are mail- 
ings, calls, and cassettes to station program 
managers; preview fees, press kits, and mailings 
to targeted audiences; and cassettes for the press. 
Based on the tentative schedule of productions 
slated for delivery during the last half of 1985, 
about 16 productions will be eligible for mini- 
grants in the coming year. 

CPB also increased step-up funds designed to 
cover the costs of putting independent and local 
programming on the national feed. In the cur- 
rent fiscal year the allocation was increased from 
$100,000 to $200,000; another boost to $250,000 
is expected in FY 1986. The Public Broadcasting 
Service will determine which programs will 
benefit. The Coalition plans to keep in touch 
with PBS programming vice president Suzanne 
Weil to monitor the use of these funds. 

The spirit of cooperation was all but ruined, 
however, by the return of an issue the coalition 
thought long settled: WGBH's Frontline has 
again turned up on CPB's list of "independent" 

MARCH 1986 





otwmm 

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productions. After CPB created the station con- 
sortium structure to produce documentary pro- 
gramming in 1982, the amountofmoney claimed 
for independent production was inflated by in- 
cluding Frontline under that rubric, thereby 
satisfying the letter, if not substance, of the 1978 
PTV legislation. During the coalition's initial 
meetings with CPB on the eve of the public tele- 
vision reauthorization hearings in March 1984, 
the group informed CPB it would object to this 
classification before Congress, on the grounds 
that Frontline used no panels to select proposals, 
producers did not have final cut, and most series 
assignments went to filmmakers with WGBH 
contacts. Subsequently, CPB backed down and 
agreed to reclassify Frontline's funding. CPB 
publicly announced this agreement in its testi- 
mony before Congress. 

Ron Hull, director of the Program Fund, 
justified the sudden reversal of this position on 
the basis of Frontline's public solicitation of pro- 
posals by independents. In a letter sent to Hull 
after the meeting, coalition chair Lawrence Sap- 
adin protested, "Of course, independents were 
always free to submit proposals. Absolutely 
nothing of any substance has changed. Your 
turnaround, therefore, smacks of bad faith." 
The coalition has already informed the staff of 
appropriate congressional subcommittees and 
written Representative Henry Waxman (D-Cal- 
ifornia), a long-time supporter of independents, 
protesting the change. 

While in Washington, coalition members also 
met with Joyce Campbell of WETA to continue 
discussions begun at the last meeting regarding a 
new series format for independent production. 
The group agreed that station support was essen- 
tial to any new concept. A new element was 
added to their strategy, however, when Hull con- 
firmed an earlier public statement that a pro- 
gramming initiative was in the works: the 
"American Experience," devoted to U.S. litera- 
ture, art, and history. CPB plans to devote $6-8- 
million over three years; the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities has already been con- 
tacted about additional funding. Should cor- 
porate underwriters sign up, the project budget 
could easily reach more than twice that much. 
WGBH has already received a $50,000 research 
and development grant to study the possibilities, 
and Hull urged the coalition to investigate a role 
for independents in the initiative. 

However, when coalition member Larry 
Daressa subsequently spoke to WGBH president 
Henry Beet on, he found Becton cordial but ten- 
tative about the project. "He said that he had 
already received about 50 calls about the grant, 
but that the station had not yet even set up a 
structure to receive input on the initiative," 
Daressa reported. Becton promised to contact 
the coalition at a later stage, "But my impression 
was that we would be one of 50 parties whose in- 
put would be solicited. We believe, however, that 
independents and stations are co-equal sources 
for programming. When it comes to the Ameri- 



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MARCH 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



can experience, the breadth and diversity of in- 
dependents should win us a preponderant role." 
And the coalition wants to avoid a repeat of the 
consortia scenario in which all the decisions were 
made before the public had any say. 

While Sapadin was soliciting possible ap- 
proaches to the initiative from the Association of 
Independent Film and Videomakers' advocacy 
committee in New York, a group of San Fran- 
cisco independents met in late January to discuss 
strategies. "We decided that a single series could 
not represent the variety of which independents 
are capable," Daressa said. When the coalition 
meets with CPB again in April, Daressa hopes 
that "we will put forward suggestions that are 
not final, but which will be the starting point of 
negotiations. We want to open up discussion. 
We encourage stations whose potential contribu- 
tions to the system have not been realized to 
come forward. Together, regional stations and 
independents can ensure the diversity this very 
exciting possibility deserves." 

— DG 



ARTFILM DATABASE 

Two of the country's major art institutions, the 
Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Trust and New 
York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, will 
compile a mammoth computer database of films 
and videotapes on the visual arts. The Critical 
Inventory of Films on Art is the first project of a 
joint venture begun in 1984, known as the Pro- 
gram for Art on Film. The Critical Inventory will 
evaluate as well as list existing programs on 
visual art from around the world, using the ad- 
vice of a range of experts on art, education, and 
film. Its first review of programs is expected to 
take several years. Filmmakers whose work 
might fit the program's guidelines are invited to 
submit comprehensive information on their 
films along with biographical material to Nadine 
Covert, former director of the Educational Film 
Library Association and the American Film 
Festival, who is now in charge of the Critical In- 
ventory. 

The second phase of the program, a Produc- 
tion Laboratory that will facilitate collabora- 
tions between art experts and filmmakers, is also 
being developed. According to program man- 
ager Wendy Stein, the laboratory will support 
the production of short films and tapes — averag- 
ing 10 minutes or less — that experiment with new 
ways of presenting art on film. The project is in- 
tended to fill gaps that have already been identi- 
fied in the Critical Inventory. For example, the 
majority of art films being produced today con- 
cern the work of living artists, often painters, so 
the Laboratory has established as its priority pre- 
twentieth-century art, including films on sculp- 
ture, the decorative arts, archaeology, and 
antique art. 

8 THE INDEPENDENT 



Stein emphasizes that project ideas are to be 
conceived by art historians and experts, whom 
the program will match with filmmakers. After 
submitting treatments and rough budgets, select- 
ed collaborations will be contracted, with full 
funding provided by the program. The Advisory 
Committee to the Program for Art on Film con- 
sists of filmmaker Saul Bass, commissioning 
editor of arts at Britain's Channel 4 Michael 
Kustow, filmmaker Adrian Malone, and art 
scholars Leo Steinberg and J. Kirk T. Varnedoe. 
For more information, contact the Program for 
Art on Film, 980 Madison Ave., 2nd floor, New 
York, NY 10021; (212) 988-4878. 

— RT 



LONDON BRIDGES 

"Independents are an important part of the film 
industry," says Sheila Whitaker, programmer of 
London's National Film Theatre. "In the last 10 
years, they have really come to the forefront. It's 
been a very identifiable movement, yet one that 
is also varied, undefinable. Independent film- 
' makers are working out of the mainstream, not 
only with regard to getting their films made, but 
with getting their films shown. I feel that the 
NFT should be doing its part by screening in- 
dependents and screening them often." 

This is not simply rhetoric. In March 1985, as 
part of "Southern Comfort," a series devoted to 
films about the American South, Whitaker add- 
ed eight programs of contemporary works by 
over two dozen southern independent film- 
makers. In April, she scheduled a 14-film tribute 
to American Playhouse. "Going for In- 
dependents," an occasional series of indepen- 
dent films from the international community, 
kicked off in June with programs by Israeli film- 
maker Amos Gitai and Peruvian-born Mary 
Jiminez. "Art in Cinema," a year-long reper- 
tory, avant-garde program commenced in 
January 1986. The initial offering featured 
cubist cinema from the twenties and a trio of 
titles by Gregory Markopoulos, Jean Epstein, 
and Germaine Dulac. Additionally, a variety of 
individual films have been programmed, either 
in repertory or as part of series. Included are 
Nothing But a Man, Koyaanisqatsi, Nicaragua 
— No Pasaran, El Norte, Harvest: 3,000 Years, 
and The Times of Harvey Milk, among others. 

"We hope to do a program devoted to Third 
World Newsreel," Whitaker explains. "Over the 
next few years, we really want to show a lot of 
American independents." Not solely interested 
in known quantities, Whitaker is willing to look 
at unsolicited work. "If something arrives here 
out of the blue," she says, "and I think it should 
be screened, then I'll happily screen it." She adds 



that a showing at the NFT will certainly not 
hinder foreign sales: "Mary Jiminez has never 
been heard of here. I think that Channel 4 will 
want to look at her work as a result of her screen- 
ing." Whitaker can be contacted at the British 
Film Institute, National Film Theatre, South 
Bank, Waterloo, London SE1 8XT, Great Bri- 
tain. 

— Rob Edelman 



CHANGES IN THE A.I.R. 

Last November the Association of Independents 
in Radio decided to dissolve its steering commit- 
tee and reorganize its structure. Karen Michel 
McPherson and Steve Robinson will now serve 
as official representatives for the organization, 
with the assistance of a national advisory board 
of A.I.R. members. Lou Giansante was elected 
secretary-treasurer. 

A.I.R. is an organization of independent 
radio and audio producers in the United States 
that facilitates communication among audio in- 
dependents and represents the interests of its 
members to public and private funders and dis- 
tributors. The organization is now collecting 
dues for 1986 membership. Contact Lou Gian- 
sante/ AIR, 59 W. 12th St., #2G, New York, NY 
10011. 

—RT 



WORK IN PROGRESS 

Over the years, the makers of independent 
documentaries on the history of the labor move- 
ment and radical politics have begun their 
research in the Tamiment Library at the Bobst 
Library of New York University. The collection, 
which contains the Wagner Labor History Ar- 
chive, is the only research facility in the NYU 
system open to the public. Beginning early this 
spring, many of these films will come full circle 
when they, too, become part of the library's 
resources. With a $20,000 grant from the New 
York State Council on the Arts Film Program, 
the Tamiment Library is joining with the Avery 
Fischer Center for Music and Media, a new, 
state-of-the-art audio-visual research center also 
housed at the Bobst Library, to create a media 
archive on labor and left politics in the United 
States. "Some unions have film libraries," noted 
Michael Miller, director of the Avery Fischer 
Center. "But in terms of scope, it will be the only 
collection of its kind." 

The initial NYSCA grant will purchase the 

MARCH 1986 



first 60 to 80 titles for the archive, ranging from 
Bonus March 1932 to The Good Fight to Red 
Nightmare, the cold war's answer to Reefer 
Madness. The current grant will be devoted to 
acquiring films exclusively, preferably on VHS, 
although Miller would like to expand the archive 
to include the growing number of grassroots 
videotapes, often produced by activists for cable 
public access. Users of the archive will view the 
films at the Fischer Center, another first-of-its- 
kind facility. Scheduled to open in February, the 
center includes three classroom spaces equipped 
for wide-screen viewing, 77 listening carrells, and 
43 video carrells, each with a color monitor and 
stereo sound, and able to use VHS, Beta, 3 /4 ", 
and laser disc formats. The viewing carrells will 
accommodate one to three people and, thanks to 
a centralized control panel, any combination of 
viewing spaces can be tuned to the same source. 
"I think the center's going to be copied," said 
Miller. "I know of two or three academic librar- 
ies considering such facilities. It will probably 
have a great impact, validating something the 
value of which should be obvious." In a similar 
manner, Miller hopes the catalogue of the labor 
media collection, which will be available interna- 
tionally through the Research Library Informa- 
tion Network, will encourage more conservative 
academic libraries to collect media more ag- 
gressively. "A lot of librarians say, 'We don't 
know what to do with this stuff.' Now they'll 
have a cataloguing model that they can use." 

Miller and Dorothy Swanson of the Tami- 
ment staff are currently relying on published 
catalogues in making acquisitions, but they are 
equally interested in lesser-known works that 
otherwise might escape their attention. Film- 
makers who have produced work appropriate 
for the collection should contact Miller at (212) 
598-3604 or write him at the Avery Fischer 
Center for Music and Media, Bobst Library, 70 
Washington Sq. S., New York, NY 10012. 
Potential researchers should note that use of the 
center's own collection will be restricted to 
students and graduates of NYU; the public will 
be admitted to view the labor archive only. Ac- 
cess will be arranged through the Tamiment 
Library. 

— DG 



ROCK OF AGES 

"Don't you forget about me," intones the rock 
group Simple Minds in their recent hit single. But 
with popular music, it's sometimes not a matter 
of forgetting it, but not being able to find it. The 
ARChive of Contemporary Music, a new non- 
profit corporation is actively working to change 
that situation in New York City. The creation of 
a publicly accessible, multi-purpose archive that 
will include catalogued discs, listening carrells, 
and exhibition areas has been in process for a 
MARCH 1986 



year. Bob George, director of the effort, along 
with David Wheeler and others, initially 
surveyed existing record archives in the U.S., 
and found not one more than 20 percent cata- 
logued. Says George, "We will concentrate on 
what no one else does. The records are here, and 
we know how to find them." 

The proposed archive will be a museum of 
popular music, including rock and roll, rhythm 
and blues, and new wave, offering listening op- 
portunities and related information on the artists 
and music. For those researching music for pos- 
sible use in other media, information on rights 
will be part of the cataloguing system. The in- 
stitution will not lend or permit copying of 
materials. Music on video or film will be featured 
in a special viewing room. These latter aspects of 
the archive are still in the planning stage; at 
present, the corporation operates mainly as a 
research facility. 

A vacant loft houses the growing collection of 
albums and archival materials. Many recording 
companies have agreed to send new releases and 
the records spin in at the rate of 20 per week. 
George, former owner of One Ten Records (the 
company that issued Laurie Anderson's Super- 
man), brought back several hundred records 
from his travels in Africa. In January, he will go 
to Spain to make contacts. The worldwide re- 
search efforts will make the ARC an interna- 
tional source of popular music. In a few years, 
the ARC may be the place to bebop away an af- 
ternoon in New York City. 

— Judith L.Radler 



NEW VENUE 

FOR ICA'S CINEMA 

The Institute of Contemporary Art's Cinema in 
Boston has come home. Previously located at 
Sack Copley Place, this film program opened on 
November 13 in its newly renovated multi-use, 
in-house theater at the ICA. The screening 
space, seating 150, is equipped with 35mm and 
16mm projectors, up-to-the-minute video 
technology, and a stage for performances and 
lectures. Their agenda will include limited runs 
of independent films; past series have ranged 
from animation to political documentaries. 
Curator Julie Levinson says, "ICA Cinema is 
trying to do the sort of programming that Film 
Forum does in New York City." The Institute 
also sponsors an ongoing video program that 
presents thematically grouped works. This 
winter the video schedule includes an extension 
of its "Mediated Narratives" program — an ex- 
ploration of the relationship between video art 
and broadcast and related media. 

— JR 



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THE INDEPENDENT 9 



FIELD REPORT 



FAIR MARKET VALUES: 

1985 STATION PROGRAM COOPERATIVE CONVENES 



Peter Broderick 



Amid the elegant surroundings of Philadelphia's 
Bellevue Stratford Hotel, programmers from 
public television stations around the country 
were wined and dined, lobbied and cajoled for 
four days last November. Attending the annual 
public television Program Fair, station representa- 
tives were fair game for the program producers 
vying for funding for the 1986-87 schedule. A 
$35-38-million pool of station money is available 
this year for the purchase of national program- 
ming through the Station Program Cooperative. 

For most programs, the competition was a 
matter of life or death, because the SPC compo- 
nent of their funding is essential for survival. 
And it was clear from the start that between one- 
third and one-half of the programs competing at 
the fair would receive no SPC funding. Tactics 
to woo the 375 or so station representatives in- 
cluded: "dinner, drinks, and dancing Texas- 
style" with Gary P. Nunn; appearances by 
celebrities Loretta Swit, David Birney, and 
former Miss America Kylene Barker Brandon; a 
prize drawing and free makeovers; hospitality 
suites with gifts including tote-bags, T-shirts, 
and Dutch chocolate apples (one participant 
eagerly collecting freebies explained that he was 
doing his Christmas shopping); and an excursion 
to Atlantic City, where two busloads of par- 
ticipants were given the chance to gamble at the 
Resorts International Casino. 

The 39 programs competing at the Program 
Fair had been chosen by stations in a pre-fair 
preference round of 72 submissions. Shortly 
after the fair, in a second preference round, sta- 
tions were asked again which programs they in- 
tended to purchase. In January binding bidding 
began. After an expected six rounds of bidding 
lasting well into February, between 17 and 26 
programs would emerge with SPC funding 
commitments. 

Of the 39 proposals presented at the fair, 24 
were programs up for renewal with no substan- 
tial format changes. These included Mister 
Rogers' Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Nature, 
and Frontline. Many of the 15 proposals pro- 
voked deja vu, because of their similarity to 
successful programs such as Rabbit Ears Theater 
(resembles Reading Rainbow); The Search for 
Mind (a sequel to The Brain from the same pro- 
ducers); and The Korean War (from the produc- 
ers of Vietnam: A Television History). Some of 




CPB chair Sonia Landau, flanked by Burnhill F 
and Program Fund director Ron Hull at CPB's 

Photo Pom Lett 

the new proposals involved repackaging existing 
programs: Television (the British Granada TV 
series about television with a new narration and 
additional footage) and Adventure (combining 
six existing films with six planned new films in a 
12-part series about "extraordinary people fac- 
ing great challenges," to be produced by David 
Fanning). 

A new proposal for a nightly half-hour news 
program called America Tonight, submitted by 
the New Jersey Network and Maryland Public 
Television, was expected to generate controversy 
because it offered stations an alternative to The 
MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. But the propo- 
nents of America Tonight failed to show any 
sample footage, name an anchor, or specify any 
commitments of underwriting support. As a 
result, MacNeil/Lehrer not only avoided serious 
criticism but also gained support. Six weeks after 
the fair, the proposal for America Tonight was 
withdrawn. 

In recent years, the pattern has been that sta- 



lO THE INDEPENDENT 



, Clark, general manager of KCTS-TV Seattle, 
Local Television Program Awards ceremony. 

tions approve the staples up for renewal and re- 
ject most new proposals. Despite some grum- 
bling about particular shows, the general at- 
titude of station representatives seems to be, "If 
it ain't broke, don't fix it." They favor incum- 
bent programs that have built constituencies and 
generate funds (pledges, underwriting, or both) 
over the unknown and untried. This year was no 
exception. Although the final results of the bid- 
ding rounds will not be known until early this 
month, post-fair ranking and discussions with 
PBS personnel indicate that most existing shows 
will probably receive money from the stations, 
with the possible exceptions of Owl TV, On 
Stage at Wolftrap, Sneak Previews, and 
Smithsonian World. Also in some jeopardy are 
Firing Line and Evening at the Pops. Only the 
new proposals that seem guaranteed to succeed 
have a chance of approval. The Day the Universe 
Changed, with James Burke, appears likely to be 
as successful as his previous series, Connections. 
Likewise, The Search for Mind may reach as 

MARCH 1986 



large an audience as its predecessor The Brain. 
The other new series that generated the most ex- 
citement was Comedy Theater, the funniest of 
the four new comedy proposals. 

All of the new proposals with any chance of 
receiving SPC funding were submitted by sta- 
tions. None of the 12 non-station proposals sub- 
mitted in the first round got enough support to 
make it to the Program Fair. These included pro- 
posals that ranged from African Film Festival (a 
series of 10 feature films by and about Africans) 
to The Arms Race: Who's Winning? (a five-part 
series from the Fund for Peace) to The Rolling 
Stone Magazine Show (a monthly mixture of in- 
terviews, news, and reviews). 

Even though backed by St. Paul's KTCA, 
Alive from Off Center, the new wave perform- 
ance/video art program that was last year's least 
conventional new public television series, wisely 
did not seek funds at the Program Fair. Stations 
weren't interested in spending money on avant- 
garde culture or stylistic experimentation. But 
producer Melinda Ward came to town to lobby 
Ron Hull, head of the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting's Program Fund. She wanted him 
to overrule the CPB panel that had just turned 
down Alive from Off Center's second-year 
funding request. [Later, the Program Fund 
decided to recommend funding.] While that pro- 
gram's fate hung in the balance, there were 
several other developments at the fair of 
significance to independents. American 
Playhouse, a major source of funding for low- 
budget independent features in the United 
States, strengthened its station support. After 
putting on an impressive presentation, Play- 
house rose from tenth to fourth place in 
preferential rankings. 

The Public Broadcasting Service's current 
policies for handling public affairs programs ex- 
pressing partisan views were described to station 
reps by Barry Chase, vice president for news and 
public affairs programming. Addressing the 
final general session, he explained that programs 
should be properly labeled and cited War: A 
Commentary by Gwynne Dyer as an example. 
This Canadian series, originally titled Goodbye 
War, was renamed for PBS distribution. (The 
use of the word "commentary" parallels a 
strategy used by commercial television. By label- 
ing the expression of a point of view a "commen- 
tary" rather than an "editorial," commercial 
broadcasters avoid having to allow conflicting 
points of view to be heard under the provisions 
of the Federal Communications Commission's 
Fairness Doctrine, which has recently been ap- 
plied to public broadcasting.) The other notable 
difference between the Canadian and the U.S. 
version was that PBS took this seven-part series 
with a strong antiwar point of view and financed 
a new eighth segment, War: The Knife Edge of 
Deterrence, which featured other views. 

Chase also explained that a complete PBS 
program package must be "responsible," so that 
it will "give a reasonably intelligent viewer a basis 
MARCH 1986 



for making a choice between or among different 
viewpoints, even if the viewer just looks at the 
show." He stated that this policy "has led us 
most often to this wraparound concept which I 
think certainly needs at least refinement and, as 
somebody has said, ultimately may just not be 
the way to go." Typically, wraparounds follow 
controversial programs with discussions among 
people whose views may contradict those ex- 
pressed in the program. Over the years, this 
method has been used by PBS for such programs 
as Death of a Princess, Choosing Suicide, and 
most recently, When the Mountains Tremble 
[See "Media Clips," The Independent, Decem- 
ber 1985], and has often been criticized by in- 
dependent producers. Citing financial and time 
limitations, Chase acknowledged that alterna- 
tives to wraparounds hadn't been fully explored 
by PBS but said that he was "open to suggestion 
and certainly the evolution of that form." 

Six recent programs that had sparked contro- 
versy were mentioned by Chase. In addition to 
War: A Commentary by Gwynne Dyer, he refer- 
red to The National Nutrition Quiz, which had 
been criticized by the "red meat lobby." Some 
station representatives objected to the British 
documentary Skin Horse because of its frank 
treatment of sexuality among the disabled; 
others disliked the title. Chase explained that the 
wraparound for When the Mountains Tremble 
was created to allay station trepidation. Of the 
six controversial programs discussed by Chase, 
stations were more universally negative about 
the Vietnam: Op/Ed program [See "Bennett 
Takes Aim," The Independent, September 1984] 
than any of the others. It featured the right-wing 
Accuracy in Media's rebuttal to the series, Viet- 
nam: A Television History, which had been pro- 
duced by WGBH. According to Chase, stations 
didn't like being second-guessed on their own 
programming, were unhappy with the Op/Ed 
program itself, and resented giving Accuracy in 
Media founder Reed Irvine a platform. PBS's 
survey of press reaction revealed more negative 
than positive responses. 

In contrast, Chase praised The Abortion Bat- 
tle, which juxtaposed anti-abortion and pro- 
choice films, as a good example of how point-of- 
view pieces on controversial issues should be 
handled. He reported that despite some initial 
nervousness, stations reacted positively to The 
Abortion Battle. It was the first of a series of 
three "Theme Nights" funded by the Program 
Advisory Committee for a total of $380,000 
(about one-third budgeted for acquisition). 
Chase explained that each "Theme Night" will 
show films on opposite sides of a controversial 
issue. The format restricts "Theme Nights" to 
issues where films on opposite sides already exist . 
While Chase can apparently live with wrap- 
arounds, he is enthusiastic about "Theme 
Nights." Series producer KQED in San Fran- 
cisco has announced a second "Theme Night," 
Flashpoint: Israel and the Palestinians, which 
will be shown on April 9. According to KQED's 



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director of current affairs, Beverly Ornstein, the 
topic for the third show, to be aired next Septem- 
ber, will be Central America, nuclear disarma- 
ment, or the death penalty. As of January, 
KQED was still looking for films with differing 
approaches to these issues. "Theme Nights," 
then, may provide a PBS showcase for indepen- 
dent documentaries with strong points of view. 

On the final day of the Program Fair, Ron 
Hull announced another PTV project that may 
benefit independents: the Program Fund plans 
to provide $6-8-million over three years for pro- 
gramming about the "American Experience," 
including U.S. history, art, and literature. [See 
"Coalition Takes Two Steps Forward...," 
"Media Clips," in this issue.] 

The impact of the Program Fair can be gaug- 
ed by comparing post-fair with pre-fair preferen- 
tial rankings. The top 17-ranked shows after the 
fair included only two not among the pre-fair top 
17. Sixteen of the top 17 post-fair programs 
were renewals. Even among the top 26 shows 
(the maximum that might be funded by the 
SPC), 21 were renewals. After 450 participants 
spent four intensive days considering the com- 
peting programs, station preferences had changed 
very little. 

These results are not surprising given the 
inherently conservative SPC process, which was 
instituted in response to pressure on PBS during 
the Nixon administration. As Erik Barnouw ex- 
plained in his book The Sponsor, Nixon vetoed 
two funding appropriations for public television 
in 1972. The Nixon administration had been 
angered by public affairs programs such as the 
anti-establishment series The Great American 
Dream Machine and documentaries like Who 
Invited Us?, about U.S. intervention overseas. 
According to Barnouw, the White House let 
public television know "it would have to reor- 
ganize, with stress on 'grass-roots localism'" if it 
was .to receive federal funds, and that "the bulk 
of Federal funds would go directly to local sta- 
tions." PBS then reorganized so that stations 
receive a percentage of CPB money to purchase 
programs through the SPC. The SPC process 
thus further decentralized decision-making in 
the public television system and increased the 
stations' power over programming. 

For the past 12 years, stations have continued 
to purchase programs through the SPC. Innova- 
tive proposals designed to reach new audiences 
are allowed to apply. However, as this year's 
Program Fair demonstrated, programming by 
station consensus perpetuates conventional pro- 
grams aimed at the traditional PBS audience. 

Peter Broderick is an independent producer and 
writer, based in Santa Monica. 

©1986 Peter Broderick 



12 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1986 



IN FOCUS 



DAYBREAK IN THE DIGITAL ERA 
SMPTE '85, Part 



David Leitner 



For the media production industry, 1986 could 
be the year of living digitally, if last October's 
Society of Motion Picture & Television Engi- 
neers' technical conference and equipment ex- 
hibition was any indication. Roaming the aisles 
at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was 
hard to find a video device that didn't feature an 
enhanced IQ, due to the presence of a dedicated 
microprocessor chip. And video technology was 
not alone in this: among the products displayed 
by the more than 250 exhibitors were Sony open- 
reel audio recorders that made their own head 
and tape alignments, Aaton film cameras that 
remembered their own start and stop times, and 
Coherent Communications film slates that gen- 
erated their own time-code displays. 

In addition to new-found "intelligence" in 
film, video, and audio products, SMPTE '85 
also provided glimpses (with apologies to theo- 
retical physics) of the eventual Grand Unified 
Technology of image/sound processing. Like 
physicists seeking a single law for gravitational, 
electromagnetic, and strong and weak nuclear 
forces, electronics engineers are nearing a work- 
ing principle that reduces all audio, video, graph- 
ics, and computing possibilities to a single tech- 
nology. The principle, of course, is digitization. 
Once an image or sound is sampled, quantized, 
and digitized into a stream of bits, it's all num- 
bers to a computer and memory device. The 
computer can then process images and sounds 
similarly to the way words and text are processed 
now. When adequate random access memory 
(RAM) becomes available, locating and retriev- 
ing images from videotape in the course of edit- 
ing will seem absurdly time-consuming. Com- 
puter call-up and instant processing of audio/ 
video changes — between frames and within 
frames — at the speed of imagination will be 
taken for granted. If this seems like science fic- 
tion, remember when minicomputers were as big 
as refrigerators ... 10 years ago. And observe the 
separate field of computer graphics; it continues 
to push the envelope of image processing, with 
video effects outfits like Dubner, Quantel, 
Ampex, and Bosch looking on with interest. 

The technology of computer memory is key to 
the feasibility of real-time audio and image proc- 
essing. Given the vast amount of RAM that 
video processing would require, chips, at pres- 
ent, are too costly and limited in capacity. Even 
audio processing is hampered by inadequate 
storage and memory. For instance, compared to 
MARCH 1986 



a word of text that requires several bytes of mem- 
ory, a minute of audio requires several mega- 
bytes (mega = million). At the convention, 
Glenn Glenn Sound of Los Angeles demonstrat- 
ed the use of a Synclavier digital synthesizer to 
process sound effects. With the Synclavier, orig- 
inally designed for musicians, any sound, "a 
bird, bell, bassoon, or basketball," as Glenn 
Glenn explained, can be digitized and "record- 
ed" onto hard disc, then played back via key- 
board — in any key. From a series of nonmusical 
sound pitches, chords can be built (imagine 
thunder in Cmin7); or digital Doppler shift ef- 
fects added to the multiplied sound of a single jet 
"flyby," thus creating an airforce; or individual 
foley footsteps, with digital reverb, inserted at 
exact SMPTE time-code locations. 

All of this and more was heard live at SMPTE. 
The technology is real; the problem lies in the fact 
that 3.2 megabytes of RAM produces only 40 
seconds of sound, restricting the use of such 
sound processing to effects tracks and some 
dialogue editing. Considering that an NTSC 
video signal spans a frequency range several hun- 
dred times that of a sound signal, the problem of 
storing an immensely large digital video signal 
using solid state memory is apparent. In lieu of 
RAM, only video laser discs (which are analog, 
by the way) provide anything like rapid access to 
stored images: hence, LucasFilm's disc-based 



Editdroid, the much discussed microprocessor- 
controlled video editing system for film seen in a 
commercial version for the first time at SMPTE 
'85. 

Realistically, it will probably take a generation 
to fully implement all of the digital possibilities 
seen and heard at SMPTE '85. Like digital proc- 
essing, which includes switching and effects, 
digital audio and videotape recording is in its in- 
fancy. Many standards and many protocols to 
allow digital devices to communicate with each 
other must be agreed upon. Last fall, just prior 
to the convention, a SMPTE committee put for- 
ward the completed "Type D-l" draft standard 
for a digital VCR utilizing 19mm cassettes (about 
the size of % "). This VCR standard, based on 
the 1982 international component digital signal 
standard known as CCIR 601, was carefully 
decided through close cooperation with the 
European Broadcasting Union, and will be 
universal. The industry responded with a sigh of 
relief: a single digital standard would preclude 
the marketplace confusion over multiple, com- 
peting systems that has dogged consumer Vi ", 
professional high-speed Vi ", and the introduc- 
tion of ENG l A ". In just five years, for instance, 
the novelty of the revolutionary camcorder with 
its high speed Vi " cassette and component signal 
has given way to vexation: faced with two Vi " 
standards, none of the major networks has in- 




A flickering landscape of video monitors greeted conferees at SMPTE '85. 

Pholo David Leilner 



THE INDEPENDENT 13 



vested in it. Further, Panasonic obsoleted its 
own M-format standard at SMPTE '85 by dem- 
onstrating an improved, incompatible M-II with 
digital audio. And the situation is worse in V* ": 
the two incompatible formats introduced by 
Bosch and Hitachi at previous SMPTEs weren't 
even shown at SMPTE '85. 

While there was serious talk by Ampex of an 
ENG version of the standardized 8mm con- 
sumer format, many buyers, weary of the stan- 
dards conflicts and leery of promises, responded 
with "I'll believe it when I see it — and meanwhile 
hold on to what I've got." This new mood of 
caution reflects a growing awareness that tech- 
nological anarchy ensues when marketplace 
forces are allowed to run rampant. Advances 
seem to outpace the investment cycles of facili- 
ties houses and networks, and many, unsure of 
where the technology will turn next, are hard 
pressed to keep up and prefer to wait for the dust 
to settle. 

Buyers aren't the only victims. Bowing from 
the ranks of broadcast equipment suppliers at 
SMPTE '85 was RCA, which announced in ear- 
ly October that it was throwing in the towel as the 
only significant U.S. manufacturer of profes- 
sional video cameras, abandoning much of the 
broadcast equipment market to overseas com- 
petitors. RCA was as innovative as any company 
(remember the first high-speed component Vi " 
camcorder five years ago, the RCA Hawkeye, or 
RCA's introduction of the first CCD camera?) 
but couldn't compete with the changing struc- 
ture of such an active marketplace. This 
withdrawal marked the end of an epoch, for 
RCA played a seminal role in the development 
and implementation of NTSC in the early 1950s 
and remained a world leader in television 
technology for 35 years. 

The formal theme of SMPTE '85 mirrored 
these predicaments well: "New Directions in 
Technology. . .Difficult Decisions." Perhaps 
nowhere were new "difficult decisions" as 
palpable as at the sidebar exhibits that housed 
competing prototype systems of digital compo- 
nent video, 1 " component analog video, and 
1125-line High Definition TV, Japanese broad- 
casting's proposed world standard. All are ex- 
pressions of dissatisfaction with the current 
30-year-old NTSC system that is the U.S. broad- 
casting standard. While video facilities com- 
monly use digital signal processing in the form of 
digital video effects and digital timebase correc- 
tion, and analog component processing in the 
form of video color correction, today's video 
signal is mostly recorded and processed as com- 
posite NTSC. The only real exceptions to Va " 
and 1 " composite NTSC recording are the com- 
ponent Vi " Betacam and M formats, which 
avoid encoding the camera's red, green, and blue 
signals to NTSC and thereby achieve a recording 
quality approaching 1 ". Since NTSC encoding 
degrades the original signal and is required only 
for broadcasting, many feel the time has come to 
record all video up to the point of broadcasting 

14 THE INDEPENDENT 



as component, either analog or digital. 

At an exhibit jointly presented by the SMPTE 
Working Groups on Component Analog Video 
Standards and Digital Video Standards, proto- 
type 1 " digital and 1 " analog systems were up 
and running. The 1 " digital demo featured 
special equipment from the world's first (and on- 
ly) all-digital studio in Rennes, France, which 
began operation in September 1985. With the 
support of French television, the French manu- 
facturer Thomson-CSF designed and built digi- 
tal routing switchers, four-level image mixers 
(e.g., two foregrounds and two backgrounds), 
special effects generators, chroma-keyers, color 
correcters, and VTRs. The VTRs, which record 
a 625-line, 50 fields per second version of the new 
world standard CCIR 601 signal, were modified 
by Bosch 1 " reel-to-reel machines with totally 
different heads and electronics. Tape ran 50 per- 
cent faster than conventional Type-C, with no 
slow/fast-motion or shuttle capabilities for pic- 
ture search, and audio was what the French in- 
genuously referred to as "classical analog." But 
the pictures were amazing. No color moire, dot 
crawl, color shifts, fuzziness noise, or drop- 
outs — after 15 generations. 

The rock video produced to showcase the sys- 
tem's strengths made much of digital image 
processing: moving, "hand drawn" electronic 
backgrounds were keyed literally seamlessly 
against several foreground elements, also from 
different sources. And color correction took 
place "downstream," that is, after the original 
recording was made. This is rarely done in com- 
posite NTSC because significant image degrada- 
tion results from the required signal processing 
(which is why, unlike film which affords later 
color correction, much care is taken to color 
balance video cameras at the time of shooting). 
Incidentally, the new SMPTE/EBU 19mm digi- 
tal cassette format will feature still frame, picture 
recognition at various speeds, and four digital 
20-bit audio tracks, recorded at the middle of 
each video track by a solitary audio/video head 
at the same data rate as the video so that digital 
signal processing equipment can read audio or 
video equally. 

The 1 " component analog video system on 
display — a big brother to high-speed component 
Vi " formats like Betacam — was almost as im- 
pressive. Although its signal couldn't survive 15 
generations, it overcomes NTSC problems with 
chroma-key and downstream color correction 
and provides noiseless, clear pictures free of un- 
wanted artifacts like dot crawl. This particular 
system was based on a proposed SMPTE stan- 
dard for single-channel multiplexed analog com- 
ponent (S-MAC) video. In S-MAC, the three 
signal components derived from the red, green, 
and blue outputs of the camera are abbreviated 
in time, or "time compressed" (yes, digitally), so 
that shortened bursts of each can be sent in se- 
quence — RGB.RGB, RGB — down a single wire 
in the time normally occupied by one signal. 
Otherwise, three wires would be required, one 



for each signal, presenting current studios with a 
complex and expensive rewiring job. Propo- 
nents of S-MAC argue that, since digital tech- 
nology will take too long to perfect and prove 
too costly, MAC is the best available technology 
to supplant 1 " Type-C NTSC recording. 

The other analog component system on ex- 
hibit, Japan's 1125-line, interlaced 60-field 
HDTV, does use three-wire parallel cabling, 
largely for the same reason that it can't be digi- 
tally recorded: the size of its signal. At six times 
the bandwidth of NTSC, it's difficult to time- 
compress and impractical to digitize. This puts 
any HDTV signal currently under consideration 
in the ironic position of representing the high 
watermark of 1950s analog television tech- 
nology. Nevertheless, at the HDTV exhibit, an 
impressive array of working equipment was 
debuted, including Sony and Ikegami cameras; 
Sony 30" Trinitron monitors, 1" component 
VTRs and time-base correctors; a Grass Valley 
experimental switcher; an extraordinarily fine 
Quantel Paintbox system for still frame graph- 
ics; and an experimental Rank Cintel telecine, 
which was continuously running a print of 
Koyaanisqatsi. (The hapless representative from 
Rank had his hands full explaining to alarmed 
viewers of the accelerated stop-motion se- 
quences that the telecine had not, in fact, gone 
bonkers.) 

Although analog and digital component re- 
cording solves many problems of signal process- 
ing and reproduction, the end result must still be 
broadcast and received as NTSC. Much as the 
threat of TV in the fifties prodded a complacent 
film industry into experimenting with wide 
screens and 3-D, HDTV's greatest contribution 
at this point may be its role in provoking the 
revaluation of conventional broadcasting and 
reception. Anyone who's admired the NTSC 
quality achievable on a sophisticated studio 
monitor must suspect that, despite the techno- 
logical drawbacks of NTSC, broadcasting has a 
long way to go in living up to its promise of quali- 
ty home reception. "Enhanced NTSC" was the 
byword at SMPTE '85 for proposed improve- 
ments in conventional broadcasting and home 
reception based on the promise of low-cost digi- 
tal technology. For instance, home receivers 
might exploit a digital device called the comb 
filter. Comb filters can store from one line to an 
entire frame of NTSC at a time and single out the 
color and luminance cross-contaminations that 
occur when composite signal frequencies inter- 
fere with each other. By filtering internal inter- 
ference from an NTSC signal, spurious color 
moires and patterns of crawling dots vanish. 
Comb filters are common in professional moni- 
tors, but, for the moment, confined to costly 
top-of-the-line receivers and VCRs in the con- 
sumer market. However, as this technology be- 
comes more affordable, passive "dumb" home 
receivers will yield to "smart" ones that perform 
their own signal processing, eliminating, among 
other things, signal ghosting. 

MARCH 1986 



It's possible as well to comb filter an NTSC 
signal at its source prior to broadcasting. This 
could be done today with results appreciable on 
a common home receiver, as demonstrated at the 
booth of Farjoudja Laboratory in the shadow of 
the HDTV show. To display his cleaned-up 
NTSC signal, Yves Farjoudja lined up a second- 
hand Sharp Linytron salvaged from a Cincinnati 
flea market, a small Conrac monitor with limited 
comb filtering, and a large Sony Trinitron moni- 
tor with more extensive comb filtering. He fed 
each an NTSC signal, comb filtered at the source. 
Without source comb filtering, an image of a 
spiral galaxy was irridescent with that coarse 
rainbow effect video engineers call "cross- 
color." With filtering, defects evaporated: the 
Linytron image was clean, the Conrac distinct, 
and the Sony like a high-resolution monitor. 

Through investigations presented by several 
researchers at SMPTE '85, it emerged that digi- 
tal frame store technology in the home receiver 
can also eliminate field interlacing and flicker, 
providing NTSC quality approaching that of the 
proposed HDTV standard. (At present, the 
handful of needed high-speed 256K memory 
chips would add about $100 to the price of a re- 
ceiver, and this is falling.) Although NTSC scans 
525 lines, the physics of electron beam scanning, 
among other phenomena, limits true vertical 
resolution to a maximum of approximately 367 
lines. Errors traceable to the bandwidth-con- 
serving method of scanning 60 interlaced fields 
per second to simulate 30 integral video frames 
lowers this by another 30 percent to about 260 
lines. (The vertical resolution of the proposed 
1 125-line HDTV system, which is also interlaced, 
is similarly affected.) It's obvious there's vast 
room for improvement. 

Technically, it is simple to modify the camera 
to progressively scan all 525 lines in one unbro- 
ken electron beam sweep, i.e., non-interlaced. 
The resulting progressively scanned frame would 
have to be broken down into two fields for 
NTSC broadcasting, but a digital frame store in 
the receiver could capture and rejoin them as a 
progressive scan on the screen. As a result, ver- 
tical resolution would leap by as much as 50 per- 
cent. The same receiver frame store might also 
double the frame rate to 60 per second by simply 
outputting each frame twice, further enhancing 
resolution by suppressing flicker, and double- 
scan each line for a total of 1 ,050. All of this with 
no change to the NTSC broadcast signal. Don't 
think that the networks aren't paying attention. 
Last fall, 10 U.S. companies, including the three 
major networks, created a Center for Advanced 
Television Studies with the Massachusetts In- 
stitute of Technology to study the possibilities. 



David W. Leitner is a consultant and cinematog- 
rapher based in New York City. 




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MARCH 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



TALKING UNION 

THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AND 
INDEPENDENT FILMS 



Lucinda Furlong 



"We all want the same work, meaningful work. 
It is as much of an adversarial relationship as you 
think — // you have the money to play the ball 
game to begin with." These words, spoken last 
spring by Bob Bordiga, a business agent for the 
Directors Guild of America, at a Foundation 
for Independent Video and Film seminar on 
unions and independent production, reveal a 
fundamental contradiction. There is at once an 
inherent affinity and potential conflict between 
independent producers and the trade unions that 
represent employees in the communications and 
entertainment industries. Both unions and inde- 
pendents challenge Hollywood's economic and 
ideological control over what is produced and 
distributed. However, each group has created 
different solutions to the problem. While union 
rules developed to redress poor working condi- 
tions — long hours and erratic, unpredictable 
employment, for instance — independent film- 
makers have concentrated on producing alterna- 
tives to Hollywood movies. 

Although both groups may seek "meaningful 
work," the relationship has been uncomfortable 
at best. Many filmmakers view unions as a bur- 
eaucratic nightmare, as obstructionist as the 
managements that the unions fight, and they re- 
sent paying union rates. Those who are pro- 
labor and willing to play by union rules are still 
constrained by the chronic underfunding that 
generally plagues independent projects. From 
the union standpoint, independents who can't 
afford union labor are often seen as unprofes- 
sional, since their films don't conform to in- 
dustry standards. Many believe that indepen- 
dents should approach unions only when they're 
ready to make a "real," i.e., big-budget, picture. 
While most unions are willing to make conces- 
sions for low-budget productions, there are 
limits on how much they're willing to concede. 
For instance, some will waive certain work rules, 
others will even lower the hourly rate, but none 
will waive pension and health plan payments. 
Rafael PiRoman, former acting business agent 



for NABET (National Association of Broad- 
casting Employees and Technicians) Local 15, 
who also spoke at the seminar, summed up the 
union position: "It doesn't matter if we can sell 
you a Cadillac at the price of a Volkswagen, if 
you can only afford a bicycle." 

While this attitude can be perceived by in- 
dependents as rigid, it reflects the unions' desire 
to avoid setting bad precedents. After fighting 
for decades to establish and maintain certain 
wages and working conditions, a low-budget 
contract might be taken as a signal of a union's 
willingness to undercut its own wage structures, 
thereby opening the door to low-budget pro- 
ducers with potentially big profit margins. 
Slasher movies come to mind. 

These differing independent and union con- 
ceptions are rooted in the two groups' often an- 
tithetical models of filmmaking, as well as their 
respective relationships to the industry. Holly- 
wood film production is based on as model of in- 
dustrial production, and entertainment unions 
represent the interests of workers within that 
structure. In contrast, avant-garde filmmaking 
has relied on the figure of the artist who single- 
handedly shoots, edits, and produces the sound- 
track. This conception of the artist-as-filmmaker 
presumes a dichotomy between art and industry. 
But, once additional personnel are introduced, a 
different set of relations is established. Are they 
employees or collaborators? Is their role con- 
sidered creative or technical? 

Going one step further, what happens when 
independent producers begin to work with big- 
ger budgets that overlap with the low end of 
commercial production and involve union actors 
and technicians? Even though their work may be 
superficially similar, they do not adhere to the in- 
dustrial model within which the unions function. 
The problem, then, is as much conceptual as 
economic. Where short experimental films are 
common among independents, a work under 30 
minutes is a resume film in the industry. Where 
$250,000 is a big budget for most independent 
films, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the 
average Hollywood budget of $14-million. 

There are numerous unions involved in film 



16 THE INDEPENDENT 



production: the Directors Guild, the Writers 
Guild, the International Alliance of Theatrical 
and Stage Employees, and NABET, to name a 
few. Since many independents often produce, 
write, and direct, the union they encounter most 
frequently is the Screen Actors Guild. Over a 
year ago, SAG began negotiations with a com- 
mittee of the Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers, convened and chaired by 
Lawrence Sapadin, executive director of AIVF 
and a labor lawyer. At presstime, both parties 
are near agreement — with several points still 
being worked out — on a new contract tailored to 
independents working with what SAG considers 
extremely low budgets — $200,000 or less. 

The contract demonstrates how slippery the 
terms "low budget" and "independent" are. 
Other than the new agreement, SAG has two 
contracts designed for non-traditional — that is, 
non-mega-budget films. One, the Low Budget 
Theatrical Pictures contract for feature films 
with budgets under $500,000, is geared to "mini- 
major" independents. The day rate for actors 
under this contract, $298, remained prohibitive 
for many independents. The second, the Ex- 
perimental Film contract, has no specified ceil- 
ing, but generally covers films under 30 minutes, 
with budgets not exceeding $30,000. This was 
mainly intended to facilitate films produced as 
resume pieces. 

As more experimental filmmakers began to 
make feature-length films, they found them- 
selves priced out of one contract and outside the 
terms of the other. According to Susan Rose, 
senior executive of SAG's Theatrical and Televi- 
sion Department, "We were approached with 
more and more films that went beyond the Ex- 
perimental Film contract, which were rejected 
because of length." However, until the summer 
of 1984, many producers were able to negotiate 
with SAG, getting breaks on both contracts. Jill 
Godmilow , for example, managed to get a SAG 
contract after she completed Far from Poland, 
her experimental feature about the Solidarity 
movement. Normally, filmmakers should ap- 
proach unions with a shooting script and a 
budget well before production begins. Unions 

MARCH 1986 



are less willing to negotiate if they fail to do so. 
But SAG was very lenient in their reading of 
Godmilow's production records and didn't hold 
her accountable for minor violations of the con- 
tract. Godmilow, who found her experience with 
SAG "extremely positive," attributed this to the 
film's pro-labor content, her willingness to pay 
the seven SAG actors union scale, and the nature 
of the film itself: Far from Poland was conceived 
as a documentary, and gradually shifted to a 
dramatic form over a three-year period. Accord- 
ing to Godmilow, "I wanted to work with the 
SAG actors I had cast, and I didn't want to be 
deceitful. I wanted it to be a SAG film." 

Perhaps Godmilow's case was unique, but 
other films, including Mark Rappaport's Chain 
Letters, were also given favorable treatment by 
SAG. Rappaport, however, was the last film- 
maker to receive an Experimental contract for a 
feature. The trouble with SAG began in the sum- 
mer of 1984 when Spike Lee, producer of Joe's 
Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, applied 
for an Experimental contract for his film 
Messenger, with a budget of $60,000. Although 
the costs of Lee's film were substantially lower 
than Rappaport's and Godmilow's, Lee was 
turned down. The reason, he said, was that the 
film was deemed too commercial. According to 
Susan Rose, Chain Letters was an exception 
because of its experimental nature, while Lee's 
film didn't qualify. "We have the right to 
reanalyze the contracts," which, she said, 
"evolve given changing circumstances. We con- 
stantly ask whether we are getting away from the 
original intent of the contract." Lee filed a com- 
plaint with the New York Human Rights Com- 
mission, claiming racial discrimination. Due to 
the commission's backlog, the complaint has yet 
to be resolved. In the meantime, Lee abandoned 
Messenger, and his recently completed She's 
Gotta Have It was made with a non-union cast. 

Advised of the incident, Sapadin contacted 
SAG on Lee's behalf, and John Sucke, then 
assistant executive secretary in SAG's New York 
office, expressed an interest in negotiating. At 
Sapadin 's suggestion, an AIVF labor committee 
was reactivated to try to improve relations with 
SAG. The resulting Independent Producers 
Limited Exhibition Letter of Agreement extends 
the Experimental contract to feature-length fims 
and tapes budgeted under $200,000. Like the 
Low-Budget contract, producers must contrib- 
ute 11 percent of an actor's total gross wages to 
SAG's Pension and Health Plans, but the new 
day rate is $100. The producers may exhibit the 
work in non-theatrical situations for non-paying 
audiences, semi-theatrically before film soci- 
eties, and for limited runs in showcase theaters 
such as Film Forum in New York City. The film 
or tape may also be shown on television in an 
"educational" or "public broadcast" special 
series, but not in a regular dramatic series for- 
mat. (SAG has a separate contract for such 
venues as American Playhouse.) Cablecast is 

MARCH 1986 















w 



Top: Honora Fergusson 
and William Raymond 
In "Far From Poland." 
Filmmaker Jill God- 
milow contracted with 
SAG after completing 
the film. Left: Spike 
Lee's "She's Gotta 
Have It" continues pro- 
duction with a non- 
union cast while his 
"Messenger" remains 
on hold pending a New 
York Human Rights 
Commission hearing. 
Bottom: "Reunion" is 
being produced by 
Regge Life under the 
new SAG independent 
contract. 



Photo: David Lee 




Courtesy 



THE INDEPENDENT 



17 




Because SAG considers Lizzie Borden's "Working Girls" pornographic, it did not require a 
union contract 

Photo Larry Banks 



limited to non-commercial and non-pay chan- 
nels in "so-called 'experimental,' 'independent 
producer,' or similar formats," like the Learning 
Channel's Dispatches series. Music videos are ex- 
cluded, reflecting SAG's interest in obtaining 
full protection for its members involved in com- 
mercial productions — and those that are poten- 
tially profitable — but that might be misrepre- 
sented as independent work. 

Indeed, the contract assumes that the work 
won't make money. It can't, practically speak- 
ing. For if it proves more successful than an- 
ticipated and obtains a distribution deal that ex- 
ceeds the contract's exhibition limitations, the 
producer becomes obligated to pay additional 
actors' wages and benefits before the work is ex- 
hibited, regardless of actual earnings from the 
new distribution deal. This seems reasonable if a 
film makes a profit, although this condition 
poses problems for films booked for only short 
commercial runs. As one filmmaker explained, 
"If I get a two-week run at a commercial movie 
house, I won't make money, but I will have to 
pay rates I can't afford." In effect, a film is 
defined by SAG in terms of its distribution. 

Still, there are several aspects of the contract 
that are particularly favorable for independents, 
including a waiver of extra payment for working 
weekends, holidays, and nights. One of the most 
crucial provisions is that the contract applies on- 
ly to SAG members of the cast. 

For the most part, both the union and in- 
dependent feature filmmakers are pleased with 
the fruit of their negotiations. Speaking for 
SAG, Rose characterized the union's experience 
as "very positive," despite one or two problems. 
(About eight or 10 filmmakers have signed the 
18 THE INDEPENDENT 



new contract in New York City alone.) Accord- 
ing to Regge Life, currently in production on 
Reunion, a drama about a black family and the 
1960s civil rights movement, "It's a benefit. At 
least I can release my film." Sheila McLaughlin 
had a more qualified response: "It seems fine to 
me, but it's written into the contract that you 
can't make any money. This is art. You have to 
be poor. But I like the fact that the production 
doesn't have to be all SAG." Another film- 
maker, who didn't want to be identified, said 
that some filmmakers still won't be able to pay 
more than a few actors the new contract's scale, a 
rate that SAG considers "substandard." She 
predicted that independents would be forced 
either to use fewer SAG actors or very young 
non-SAG actors. "It puts real constraints on the 
kinds of films that can be made. It means you 
have to make a boudoir film. It continues the 
trend toward looking toward Hollywood and 
will greatly curtail the experimentation and im- 
agination in borderline experimental/narrative 
film." 

Not curtailed are those films that SAG won't 
touch, regardless of budget or the actors' union 
status. Lizzie Borden's new film Working Girls 
will cost between $250,000 and $300,000 and 
employ six or seven SAG members. But Borden 
was not obliged to sign a SAG contract because 
the union considered the film pornographic. 
(SAG does not organize pornography films; 
neither does it discourage this sort of work.) 
Although Working Girls deals with prostitution, 
Borden was surprised by the union's decision: 
"This is a feminist film, shot from a woman's 
point of view. The sex in it is unerotic. It's not 
about being pleasing to the male eye." Borden, 



however, was willing to pay SAG scale, and, in 
the end, she paid her actors rates consistent with 
the new Independent contract. 

SAG's attitude toward the contract seems to 
reinforce a definition of low-budget independent 
films as Hollywood's minor league. (Although a 
more accurate farm team analogy might be 
Roger Corman's horror films.) Speaking for 
SAG, Rose said, "It seemed like a nice 
gesture . . . that this would start a good relation- 
ship with independents; hopefully they would go 
on to make bigger budget pictures." But there's 
a more practical reason for SAG to organize in- 
dependent films: it increases actors' oppor- 
tunities for work, even if the pay is lower. As 
Sucke put it, "If there were a plethora of regular 
budget pictures being made, the Screen Actors 
Guild really wouldn't be interested in low- 
budget pictures." SAG has 20,000 members in- 
New York City; nationwide there are 50,000, 
and, according to Sucke, 85 percent of them are 
out of work at any given time. 

Despite SAG's emphasis on its economic 
motives, the new contract indicates significant 
changes for a union that has been considered one 
of the least flexible with independents. Under the 
regular, Low Budget, and Experimental con- 
tracts, SAG actors working in non-union films 
risked losing their union cards or being fined. 
Unlike the technical crew, SAG members are on 
camera, so it's almost impossible to hide non- 
union employment. The new contract allows 
SAG actors to work in what would otherwise be 
non-union films. It also, implicitly, acknowl- 
edges a sector of production, legitimate in its 
own right, that isn't an industry. 

Also, SAG's official position, as articulated 
by Rose and Sucke, does not address the one 
issue that ostensibly brings unions and inde- 
pendents together — the desire for "meaningful 
work. " There are SAG members who might find 
such work more easily in independent films than 
in the industry. 

Note: This is the first of two articles on the rela- 
tionship between independent producers who 
work outside commercial film and television, 
and the industry's trade unions. While SAG has 
now organized low-budget independents, the 
technical unions have resisted drafting contracts 
that suit the conditions of independent produc- 
tion. On the other hand, many progressive in- 
dependent documentary producers have not 
paid crews union scale. The relations between 
the technical unions and independents will be the 
subject of the second article. 

Luanda Furlong is a curatorial assistant in the 
Film and Video Department of the Whitney 
Museum of A merican Art and a former member 
of Local 24 of the Federation of University 
Employees. 



© Lucinda Furlong 1986 



MARCH 1986 



1 A 

THE MINERS' 





DEOTAPES 




h^Lfc#l# fcii^fci 




Martha Gever 



... we cannot have two distinct classes, each with 
an independent being, and then bring them into 
relationship with each other. We cannot have 
love without lovers, nor deference without 
squires and labourers. And class happens when 
some men [sic] as a result of common experience 
(inherited or shared), feel and articulate the iden- 
tity of their interests as between themselves, and 
as against other men whose interests are different 
from (and usually opposed to) theirs. . . .Class- 
consciousness is the way in which these ex- 
periences are handled in cultural terms: em- 
bodied in traditions, value-systems, ideas, and 
institutional forms. 

— E.P. Thompson 
The Making of the English Working Class 

Class consciousness has become — in 
many minds — a suspect concept, a 
nineteenth century Marxist term made 
obsolete by the twentieth-century consciousness 
industry. Class consciousness appears to have 
been replaced, in industrialized societies, by 
mass consciousness, engulfed by mass media. As 
culture increasingly becomes the property of 
competing capitalists, even ostensibly auton- 
omous institutions feel the economic and politi- 
cal weight of capitalist interests, the pressure to 
address consumers, not citizens. Under these 
conditions, the masses are everyone, and mass 
culture propagated by capitalism is everyone's, 
regardless of social position.* Social groups 
become markets to be exploited. 

Because working class-culture is, by defini- 
tion, distasteful — and threatening — to capital- 
ism, it's no accident that the consciousness in- 
dustry has rendered it marginal. Even the most 
critical among us tend to measure social credi- 
bility in terms of media images and information. 

*A vivid illustration of this denial of the existence of 
class was "Art of The Masses," an exhibition of 
graphics from the radical socialist magazine that was 
declared in violation of the federal Espionage Act and 
ceased publication in 1917. In July 1985, the show 
opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art's 
Philip Morris branch, housed in the corporation's 
midtown Manhattan headquarters. And the opening 
night party took place at the Palladium, the trendy 
(and expensive) culture club, whose owners are associ- 
ated with Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy's right-hand man 
in his anti-Communist crusade. 

MARCH 1986 



What does it mean, then, that the management- 
oriented Nightly Business Report and the Wall 
Street Journal offer the most thorough, regular, 
and widely available news reporting on trade 
union activity in the U.S.? Skepticism about the 
disappearance of working-class culture persists, 
however, in every instance of cooptation of 
popular cultural forms originating outside the 
culture industries — punk music, for example, or 
wrestling. There are also examples that can't be 
incorporated and passed off as classless. These 
are explicitly political, aimed at deepening class 
opposition. Class consciousness assumes that 
culture, politics, and economics are inseparable. 
It counters a culture based on property with a 
radical vision of democracy: socialism. Socialist 
artists, then, participate in the culture of working- 
class "traditions, value-systems, ideas, and insti- 
tutional forms." 

Disdaining the idealism of bourgeois art or the 
class bias of mass media journalism, many so- 
cialist artists allied with working-class move- 
ments have adopted an aesthetic of positivist 
realism. And film — because of its adaptability to 
narrative and documentary realism — has been a 
favored form of these socialist artists. At the 
height of international working-class solidarity 
following the Russian Revolution, filmmakers in 
many industrialized countries aligned themselves 
with Communist organizations. In the U.S., the 
Workers' Film and Photo League, a section of 
the U.S. chapter of the Comintern's Internation- 
ale Arbeiterhilfe (IAH), produced numerous 
newsreels and some documentaries on demon- 
strations, strikes, and other evidence of class 
struggle. The WFPL also distributed Soviet 
films, and members were familiar with the 
theories of Eisenstein and Vertov. They recog- 
nized the vast divide between romantic, humanist 
cinematic realism a la Flaherty and scientific 
realism according to Vertov: 

Kino-eye as the possibility of making the in- 
visible visible, the unclear clear, the hidden 
manifest, the disguised overt, the acted non- 
acted; making falsehood into truth. 

Kino-eye as the union of science with news- 
reel to further the battle for the communist 
decoding of the world, as an attempt to show 
the truth on screen — Film-truth. 
("The Birth of Kino-Eye," in Kino-Eye: The 
Writings of Dziga Vertov, edited by Annette 
Michelson, translated by Kevin O'Brien, 
University of California Press, 1984.) 



But the position of WFPL filmmakers was 
different from their Soviet counterparts: they 
did not live in a revolutionary society; their sup- 
port systems were paltry; they had to compete 
with Hollywood monopolies. Their realism 
often conformed to the prevailing journalistic 
modes, with an emphasis on information with- 
held by mass media, a process of substitution of 
realities rather than construction. In practice, the 
entrenched film industry proved difficult to con- 
travene and alternative distribution struc- 
tures — as well as radical cinematic forms — were 
thereby frustrated. True, WFPL films were 
shown in union halls, on picket lines, at con- 
ferences and fundraising events, and in the thir- 
ties WFPL activist Tom Brandon's Garrison 
Films established a national screening circuit for 
WFPL productions, Soviet films, and some 
Hollywood titles. But Brandon's experiment was 
shortlived. In 1936 the League disintegrated due 
to internal disagreements and faltering IAH sup- 
port. 

Historically and economically, different con- 
ditions obtained for print media. Compared to 
cinema, print technology was more accessible, 
and the production and circulation of print 
materials less centralized. In the annals of work- 
ing-class culture, an IAH publishing project offers 
a more encouraging precedent than the film- 
making collectives it sponsored: in 1925 IAH 
head Willi Muezenberg initiated the weekly 
Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung [Workers' Il- 
lustrated Paper]. Published in Berlin until sup- 
pressed by the Nazis, AIZ included pictures by 
worker-photographers and articles by worker- 
journalists, as well as work by well-known writ- 
ers and artists. AIZ's circulation was impressive: 
450,000 in 1931-32. But most impressive to a 
contemporary reader is the combination of 
radical political writing and aggressive, engag- 
ing, complex but direct graphic design. 

Watching The Miners' Campaign Videotapes, I 
thought of AIZ. 



From March 1984 to March 1985 British 
coal miners went on strike, protesting the 
closing of five pits and the National Coal 
Board's plans to discontinue production at many 
others in the near future. Having agreed to the 
terms of a National Plan for Coal — adopted by 
THE INDEPENDENT 19 



the Coal Board under the previous Labour 
government, with the backing of the National 
Union of Mineworkers — Margaret Thatcher's 
Conservative government then reneged and set 
out to break the back of Britain's labor move- 
ment, as part of a strategy to return nationalized 
British industries to private owners. Never of- 
ficially declared an industry-wide strike, but 
rather a series of local actions sanctioned by the 
NUM, the walkout ended in defeat for the 
miners. The strikers were unable to exercise their 
strength by hampering basic services — as they 
had done, with considerable success, during 
other strikes — because Thatcher's government 
had stockpiled coal supplies and rushed nuclear 
power into production, anticipating a confront- 
ation with the militant NUM . And , in a period of 
high unemployment, other unions, with a few 
exceptions, did not participate in prolonged 
sympathetic actions. 

Thatcher's anti-union agenda and the miners' 
determined resistance provided the impetus for 
The Miners' Campaign Videotapes, an ad hoc 
collective project of independent media groups 
and individual producers in Britain. The actual 
production, the institutional structures that 
enabled and supported the project, and some of 
the analysis of this collaboration that resulted are 
described in the following interview with Karen 
Ingham and James Morgan. 

Both Ingham and Morgan live in Notting- 
ham, where the strike became intensely em- 
battled. As they explained to me, the NUM en- 
countered complacency among many Notting- 
ham miners, since their working conditions and 
employment prospects are better than else- 
where — in South Wales, Kent, or Yorkshire, for 
instance. As media producers active in their 
community and activists within their union, the 
Association of Cinematograph, Television and 
allied Technicians, Ingham and Morgan, along 
with their Nottingham colleagues and media 
producers from all over Britain, contributed ma- 
terial to the national campaign tapes and then 
made the completed tapes available to local or- 
ganizers. Ingham is a lecturer in media studies 
and a filmmaker affiliated with the New Cinema 
Workshop. She is the ACTT equal opportunities 
officer for the East Midlands Region and cur- 
rently involved in setting up Mass Productions, a 
Channel 4 franchised workshop in Nottingham. 
Morgan, an independent videomaker, works at 
the Nottingham Video Project, a free access 
community video center, teaches video and film, 
and is an ACTT regional committee member. I 
spoke with them last July, when they visited New 
York City and screened The Miners' Campaign 
Videotapes. 



Made for fundraising and propaganda 
purposes, The Miners' Campaign 
Videotapes fit in the socialist documen- 
tary tradition, but represent a significant depar- 
20 THE INDEPENDENT 



ture from the faith in unmediated, affirmative 
realism that dominates that tradition. As topical, 
timely, but condensed reports on events, they 
resemble newsreels. But the AIZ analogy is perti- 
nent, too. The popularity of VCRs in Britain has 
made Vi " video cassettes practical vehicles for 
distribution . Some 4,000 copies of the tapes were 
dubbed and put in circulation. Also, as video 
enthusiasts always point out, videotape allows 
cheap, rapid production. What distinguishes the 
project, though, is not simply a skillful use of 
technological advantages but the integration of 
this technology — its facility for image and text 
reproduction, as well as distribution — with criti- 
cal analysis. The tapes inform, they polemicize, 
they investigate the meaning of the strike, and 
they graphically mobilize class consciousness. 

The six 15- to 20-minute tapes in circulation 
(10 were produced according to the credits) 
could be grouped in pairs. Two outline and ex- 
plain the NUM's reasons for striking: The Coal 
Board's Butchery: No Pit Is Safe and Straight 
Speaking? The Facts Behind the Miners' Strike. 
Two examine in detail the instruments of power 
confronting the miners: The Lie Machine: The 
Media and the Miners' Strike and Only Doing 
Their Job ? The Police, The Law and the Miners ' 
Strike. And two describe the necessity for 
organized alliances with the strikers: Not Just 
Tea and Sandwiches: Miners' Wives Speak Out 
and Solidarity: Trade Unions Support the 
Miners. The last-mentioned present the most 
predictable picture: various miners' wives or 
trade unionists describe their efforts to back the 
striking workers. Both tapes exhort others to 
follow the example of those interviewed, al- 
though the Solidarity tape maintains an edginess 
absent in Tea and Sandwiches. It applies the 
lessons of history, from 1926, when other unions 
"sold the miners down the river," to 1974 when 
the support of the dockworkers led to victories 
for both unions. There are also bitter words of 
warning for the Nottingham scabs. While the 
women in Tea and Sandwiches speak with firm 
resolve and intelligence, this tape takes fewer 
liberties with empathetic documentary forms, 
relying on identification with these women to 
build an untroubled argument. 

The same kind of material appears in the other 
tapes, except Straight Speaking?. — but to dif- 
ferent ends. In these, statements by miners and 
miners' wives, often combining recitations of 
personal experiences with political interpreta- 
tions of those experiences, punctuate the tapes. 
These bits of interviews with individuals rein- 
force excerpts from speeches by union leaders 
and Labour politicians, at mass meetings or 
spoken directly to the camera. This sort of stan- 
dard documentary footage is cut with emble- 
matic images, like photos and news footage of 
Thatcher and Coal Board director Ian McGreg- 
or, scenes of the police in action, as well as shots 
of miners mining and archival footage from past 
strikes. Here the appeal is not so much emotional 








MARCH 1986 




I i if JisfLtc if « 
25 flirt ue. It's 1 1 ; 



j 

! 1 


; 


BUuk^ «l 





as intellectual. The miners speak, the union 
speaks, but so, too, do industrial landscapes, 
road signs, documents, picket signs, union ban- 
ners, headlines, political graffiti, and character- 
generated statistics. And even a North American 
ear can discern the significance of varied accents, 
indicating the particular locales of the strike as 
well as its national scope. Personified expertise 
also speaks, most often from the mouth of Den- 
nis Skinner, a Member of Parliament with ties to 
the NUM, but without the pretence of political 
neutrality so common to the narrator figure in 
realist media. In Only Doing Their Job?, Dave 
Douglass of the Doncaster NUM shares this role 
with Skinner. At one point he remarks: 

If [people] think the class war is about people 
with top hats and watch chains on one side 
and people wearing cloth caps and clogs on 
the other, they've got a very naive perception. 
Because the class war is also about ideology. 
And those people who cross the class line — 
whether they're from the working class or 
not — have joined the ruling class, whether 
they're Orangemen in Ulster or scabs in Nott- 
ingham. 

Such unabashed political speech exposes the 
profoundly political connotations of the com- 
mentaries issued by all televised experts and pro- 
fessional journalists. 

In all the tapes, layers of images and words 
created in the editing room compel each element 
to yield its social meaning, to disclose the class 
conflict at the heart of the miners' strike, impli- 
cated in every representation of it. The editors 
employ a technical repertoire as eclectic as the 
material they mix, exercised in a manner best 
described as disruptive. With the exception of 
Solidarity and Not Just Tea and Sandwiches 
cited earlier, the realism here doesn't depend on 
recorded testimony — the camera/microphone- 
never-lies lie — but on syntactic structures used to 
articulate political positions. At times, the tech- 
nology that enables the tapes' dense, associative 
montages seems to overwhelm the editors, and 
imaginative manipulation slides into stylish 
TV-esque video effects. But this weakness is in- 
frequent and momentary; the project and the 
material demand that techniques enact ideas. 

The ideas advanced in The Miners' Tapes pre- 
sume and add to the history of industrial labor in 
Britain. The same can be said of the methods used 
to make the tapes: the producers incorporate a 
critique of mass media forms — directly and by 
conceiving new television idioms that refer to 
both mass media and social realist traditions 
without adhering to either. Neither technology 
nor economic relations circumscribe the posi- 
tions taken in the tapes, however. As their pro- 
duction and distribution processes make clear, 
the lives lived in mining communities and the col- 
lective interests of working people structure the 
work. 



MARCH 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



21 




irtha Gever; In order to understand a project 
like The Miners' Tapes. I think it's important to 
know something about the independent fumand 
workshops in Britain. When did these Work- 
shops form? What are their origins? 
Karen Ingham: In the seventies, particularly in 
the latter seventies, the Independent Filmmakers 
Association in Britain was very, very strong. A 
lot of people, similar to over here, I think, set up 
film and video workshops all over Britain. 
MG: When you say workshops, do you mean 
what we call media centers? * ,; ' 

KfcNo. I'll take Nottingham's example, if Imay. 
There were four or five individuals who had 
come from college and had doneaphotography, 
film, or video course. Some of them were al- 
ready tutors in film studies or media studies. 
Some of them had been involved in the experi- 
mental movement. So four or five individuals, 
maybe a few more, came together and said, 
"Why don't we start organizing screenings? 
Why don't we start distributing and exhibiting 
our work?" That's how Nottingham grew— from \ 
four or five individuals. 

James Morgan: And some of the workshops 
were originally just spaces where people Who 
were interested in film and video got together, so 
that in some cases, they existed practically 
without any funds at all. 
KI: Or without any equipment. 
MG: Can you describe, generally, some of the 
work that was being produced then. 
KI: Yes. It was certainly more avant-garde, more 
experimental. For example, a film that's become 
a bit of an underground classic, Frank Abbot's 
News and Comment was one of the first films to 
be widely distributed that was about television, 
and the power of reporting, particularly news, at 
a time when a lot of colleges were just moving 
toward media studies. What we call our general 
studies, our liberal studies, were beginning to en- 
compass wider activities—looking at the 
sociological reasons behmd what broadcasting 
means and the whole ideology of broadcasting. 
That coincided with the production of ex- 
perimental films about the media and the power 
of the media. In addition to the film workshops, 
there was London Video Arts, which has been go- 
ing for some years now. 
JM: Certainly, there was a lot of active experi- 
mentation and alot of shorts, I mean 30 seconds, 
home processed. 

KI: Nobody had any money; 20 minutes was a 
feature. The way workshops were originally 
talked about meant something so different from 
what's happening now, and there is a confusion 
because of terminology. The term "workshop" 
stuck, now that Channel 4 has come along. 
MG: Could you explain the genesis of the fran- 
chised Channel 4 workshops? 
KI: Before Channel 4 was formed Alan Foun- 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



tajn was the film officer for East Midlands Arts, 
our Regional Arts Association. He was very ar- 
ticulate; he was totally committed to indepen- 
dent film and video. When Channel 4 finally 
became an actuality, Jeremy Isaacs, the chief ex- 
ecutive of Channel 4, offered Alan Fountain the 
job of commissioning editor for independents. 
This was a totally new concept. To have a com- 
missioning editor for independent film and video 
was revolutionary, in Britain anyway. Alan's 
department is responsible for individual film and 
video commissions and for the Channel 4 work- 
shops. 

Already, there were workshops such as Shef- 
field Film and Video Coop, Chapter Film Work- 
shop in Wales, which is very well known, the 
New Cinema Workshop in Nottingham, Trade 
and Amber in Newcastle — they were very well 
|p|bwn — Platform in London, Birmingham's 
|i&other strong one. . .a hard core of a dozen 
^Workshops already had an equipment bas€i : 
\They had received funding from the British FilrC 
| Institute, or maybe through the ArtsCouneilof 
Great Britain and the Regional Arts Assc 
tions. So they had equipment, and 
started producing within their regions?^^e ; 5 
became franchised workshops, and some Con- 
tinued to operate as access workshops. 
MG: Was there any pressure from independents 
for Channel 4 to support their work? 
KI: An enormous amount. 
JM: Remember, it's the fourth channel. In- 
dependent work was hardly ever broadcast on 
BBC 1 , BBC 2, or ITV. Channel 4 seemed to be 
the first opportunity. 

MG: Where did the pressure come from? How 
did people organize? 

KI: People lobbied. And also, we had a strong 
ally in Alan Fountain. He'd come from an inde- 
pendent background. He'd made a film himself, 
just before he got his job. He knew the process. 
So he organized the lobbying as well. I think 
that's fair to say. He said, "Yeah, sure, we all 
want this, but you've got to get your act 
together." 

MG: I understand from articles I've read that the 
Association of Cinematograph, Television and 
Allied Technicians had a major role in the Chan- 
nel 4 Workshop Declaration. 
KI: hi England, if you wanted to get anything on 
TV, you had to work with a union crew. The 
ACTT is extremely strong; it's a closed door 
craft union. In other words, unless you've al- 
ready worked, you don't get in; unless you're in, 
you don't get... OK? 
MG: How do people get in? 
KI: From our sector, they didn't. There were no 
apprenticeships as such. 
JM: The moment the idea of independent work 
going on Channel 4 was suggested, Channel 4 
and the ACTT had to put their heads together 



quickly and work out this agreement. Otherwise, 
the union would say, "I'm sorry. None of that 
stuff can come on. It hasn't had the proper crew. 
It's been made on super 8. You can't have that." 
Out of that came the Workshop Declaration on 
how individuals with small crews and small 
budgets could make stuff that was broadcast- 
able. Really, two people sat down . . . 
KI: Roy Lockett, deputy general secretary of the 
ACTT, and Alan Fountain. 
MG: There was a commitment from the union? 
KI: It was fought within the union. The ACTT is 
a craft-based union, very strong, very old — cine- 
ma with a capital C. Now they have all these little 
independents coming in with VHS and low-band 
U-matic video and 16mm, made with Arriflex's 
and Beaulieus . . . Mickey Mouse is the term that 
was used. 
The Workshop Declaration guaranteed that 

^^^^^ior Channel 4 would give a full or pro- 
visional franchise to certain workshops, so that 

fjibgy could produce for television. That is , if their 
work was up to acceptable technical standard, 

|and||bannel 4, i.e., Alan Fountain, wanted to 
*iy jErhere were certain limitations that had to 
be considered. You had to have so much union 
backing, you had to involve so many union peo- 
ple. But that in itself was a major step. 

But, one of the consequences of this was that 
this prompted more independents to ask — or ask 
again, since the question had been around for a 
number of years — "Why can't we be unionized? 
Why shouldn't we be? We have these skills, we 
have the technology, we are producing. It's 
about time to start letting more of us in the 
union." So the doors creaked open a little bit. 
The ACTT said, "We'll try this out," and a lot 
of us, like James and myself, rushed in. It was 
amazing. We filled in forms: "OK, what do you 
want to be?" "Well, I'm best on camera, I'll be a 
camera operator. " "Well, basically I fancy direc- 
tion. I think that's my strong suit.,Jij|be a direc- 
tor." "I'll be a producer." So you i, ^Pte for your 
form, got an endorsement from various mem- 
bers who were already in the union, and sent 
your forms away. But when you get a ticket for 
whatever position, you have a restriction. You 
can't immediately say, "I am a qualified camera 
operator. I can now work on anything for film 
and television." They give you a trial period. But 
we only had a two year restriction, which is un- 
heard of. So, after two years we were fully quali- 
fied directors, etc., according to the union. 
JM: According to the ticket. 
KI: Now, this hadn't been happening within the 
union. 

MG: About how many people took advantage 
of this? 

KI: It wasn't many at first. Maybe 50 or 60. 
MG: Is this system still in effect? 
KI: No, because, understandably, I think, peo- 

MARCH 1986 







pie within the union had had to do long appren- 
apprenticeships just to become assistants, then 
another apprenticeship to get a full ticket. They 
worked their way up over a number of years, and 
some of them were far more skilled than any of 
us, and still didn't have full tickets. They turned 
around and said, "These people are rushing in 
and, after two years, can do what the hell they 
like." There's a lot of bad feeling about that. 
JM: They realized that people who got their 
tickets so that they could have a feed into Chan- 
nel 4 had all restrictions lifted after two years, 
and they were then able to compete for the same 
jobs, but without the 10 to 15 years' experience. 
MG: How does an independent producer get a 
ticket now? 

KI: There were enough people that got in. For 
example, we're both on our regional ACTT 
committee. I'm the equal opportunities officer in 
our area for the ACTT, Jamie's a committee 
member, another independent I'm working with 
in Nottingham is the chairperson. In Birming- 
ham, for example, the sam^^^l^^^^i- 
volved in Birmingham Film and \%eo JBk|> 
shop are now on their regional A^^^^Kfe- 
tee. It happened in London, it happened is Jtew- 
castle, so the few people that did get in on this 
first wave managed to get into positions where 
they have some authority and power. If someone 
wants to become a member, you actually have 
people in the union who already have a back- 
ground and a knowledge of independent film 
and videomaking, who can say, "You can't 
throw this person out because they've only done 
low band U-matic video. They meet every cri- 
teria; they can come in; we'll vet their member- 
ship," because the union is now recruiting in 
areas like nonbroadcast video. 
JM: And there are different sectors of the union. 
KI: That means that people who genuinely want 
to work as a union member, but in independent 
film and video, can now get a ticket with mini- 
mum experience. They still have to work on a 
minimum of two or three independent film or 
video productions. They have to be authorized 
or endorsed by the Regional Arts Association. 
You can't just get $50 together and make a super 
8 film and say, "Well, that's number one." 
MG: What is the relationship between the 
Regional Arts Associations, the ACTT, the BFI, 
and Channel 4? How do those various institu- 
tions determine the structure of the workshops? 
JM: Take Nottingham again, because that's 
easiest. It was a very successful workshop, fund- 
ed by the Regional Arts Association to a high 
level. It had somebody working there, office 
space, telephones, etc., and equipment. Once it 
|j|&carne a Channel 4 workshop, a lot of the peo- 
pe^rfXHlsed it would not have the same access to 
it, because itwpyJd be working for Channel 4. In 
Nottingham^they decided that, for the time be- 



MARCH 1986 



ing, they were going to continue the workshop as 
it was originally conceived. If you start produc-f 
ing for Channel 4. . . 

KI: You become an affiliate production work- 
shop. 

MG: And there are restrictions? 
KI: Absolutely. 
MG: What are those? 

KI: To become an ACTT/Channel 4 workshop, 
the restrictions are that you have to have amini- 
of four people working there. Now what people 
do, generally, is become four or five people who 
are employed by Channel 4 to run a workshop 
that, at the end of its year of funding, will pro- 
duce something for Channel 4. To a certain ex- 
tent, they also work in areas like exhibition and 
distribution, perhaps organize some events. But, 
primarily, Channel 4's putting money in, and at 
the end of the year they want to have something 
that they can put on television — a product, yes, 
Ifce key word is product. The equipment base is 
|||g<|8red toward Channel 4. In other words, it's 
ullillpccess. 

JMrx^moment it's for Channel 4, it's sudden- 
ly peopWIftjth a track record who are up at the 
front, and the newcomers in the region or the 
more experimental person who usually works 
quietly alone tend to get pushed out. 
KI: But even before they were made Channel 4 
workshops, these workshops had individuals 
with a wide range of skills. At Birmingham Film 
and Video Workshop, for example, or in Chap- 
ter, there were people involved in teaching; there 
were media studies or film studies lecturers; there 
were people involved in the technical side with a 
lot of technical skills; there were people who 
were involved in academics; or film theoreticians 
who were very involved in writing — a lot of peo- 
ple who write for Screen — and so on. That 
hasn't been lost. There was always a fear that the 
Channel 4 workshops would become entirely 
production-based. But groups such as Birming- 
ham Film and Video Workshop, which I think is 
quite a good model in many ways, had very 
strong links with the community and their trade 
unions — even before they were unionized. 

I think it's also worth mentioning, in the nut- 
shell history of the independent film/video 
workshops, the Regional Production Fund. In 
1981, I guess, the BFI along with Channel 4 — 
although there was no Declaration then, there 
were discussions with Channel 4 — sponsored 
what was really like a blueprint for the Work- 
shop Declaration. The Regional Production 
Fund was set up in London, and it's purpose was 
to get more money away from London into the 
regions. Although the money came from the 
British Film Institute, Channel 4 and the unions 
were involved. Groups of a few individuals ap- 
plied for funding for a year's work . Three groups 
were given 40,000 to 50,000 pounds to produce 




programs, to make educational videotapes, to 
distribute, to exhibit work-r-a whole array of 
activities— working towards television. All had 
strong community and trade union links. 
JM; Yes, I think for a while people have been 
iooking for independent film and videomakers to 
open their doors. 
Kl; And not be so elitist. 
JM: Exactly. And that has been happening, 
hence, The Miners' Campaign Tapes. 
MG: Which brings us to that project. Were there 
precedents in Britain for that kind of collabora- 
tion? 

: KI; No, this was unique. 
3Mt.lt wasn't just the Channel 4 workshops, 
although Trade and Platform sent out the 
original cat] far collaboration. The idea to make 
some campaign tapes moved very quickly. A cir- 
cular went out. to every sort Of independent 
film/video workshop: "Are you doing any 
work? Have you got any material? If you've got 
material, send it to us." It was then discovered 
that, in fact, these different workshops were 
alre^dydoingatot of work, in Wales, at our little 
video project in Notttegham^-not so little now, 
but at the time we were working mainly on VHS 
—we had already started making tapes about the 
strike. ; 

MG: What sort of work were you doing? 
JM: Right at the beginning of the strike the Kent 
miners, marched to Nottingham. We went out 
and met "them and taped that, as well as the 
events that happened as everyone came into Not - 
tingham— for a local tape, as history. Then the 
circular came, and everybody started sending 
their materials 

KI: To Trade and Platform. . . > ?> 
JM: In London, and it was edited at London 
Video Arts. Later on people started donating 
tapes, time, equipment, etc. 
KI: I thought at one point that the National 
Union of Mineworkers had donated money for 
these tapes, but they didn't. They endorsed it; 
these were the national Miners' Campaign 
Tapes. These tapes ended up costing about 
15,000 pounds to produce. And all of that was 
voluntary. So London Video Arts, for example, 
edited the tapes for free; all the workshops gave 
tapes; everybody gave their labor; everybody 
gave their time, everybody gave equipment, and 
that was in itself a precedent — absolutely. 
JM: And it was such diverse work, They got 
masses and masses of tapes on all sorts of dif- 
ferent formats, and there was a great deal of 
discussion about how it was to be edited. Some 
people didn't agree with the way the work was 
edited, but there was no way to actually organize 
that without the whole process coming to a grind- 
ing halt. 

MG: Who made those decisions? 
KI: There was a committee of people from the 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



main workshops that were involved. Again, it 
was imperfect because some people were up in 
Newcastle, others down in Wales — for England 
that's a big distance to cover. So it tended to be a 
smaller core of people than everyone would have 
liked. 

MG: How, for instance, were decisions reached 
on whom to interview, in terms of public fig- 
ures? 

KI: No decisions were made. This was a totally 
intuitive, spontaneous project. You see, 
everyone within the film and video workshops 
was quite aware of the politics of this even before 
the letter was ever sent saying, "Look, we have 
to collaborate. This is an historic event." The 
material already being produced by workshops, 
whether they were Channel 4 workshops or not, 
was politicized. And everyone was aware of the 
importance of this strike in terms of British trade 
union history. 

MG: There is a political coherence in the tapes 
which I find remarkable, given the various 
sources of the material. 

KI: I think that's because it centered around ma- 
jor political figures like Arthur Scargill [leader of 
the NUM], for example. There's one main speech 
at a huge rally, Scargill's speech at the Albert 
Hall in Nottingham, our main hall there. That 
speech was the speech of the strike. This was 
when the press accused Scargill of being another 
Hitler because of the type of excitement and 
commitment that that speech provoked. Nott- 
ingham Video Project was there. They were the 
only television people allowed in. The BBC and 
ITV were thrown out. 

JM: The BBC lit it for us. They set their lights 
up, and the only people that they cleared it with 
were the owners of the Albert Hall. ITV turned 
up with their crew and everything. We'd been 
asked to come by the local Trades Council to 
record the entire rally. 

KI: On behalf of the National Union of 
Mineworkers, I mean for them, not for televir 
sion. 

JM: Within 10 minutes the BBC and other news 
crews were told to leave. 
KI: Let's be honest about this. They weren't told 
to leave. They were made to leave. 
JM: Of course, the only shots they put on the 
news were of them being pushed out the door. 
The reason they were made to leave was that 
their cameras were down pointing at the ground 
until the moment there was any sort of argu- 
ment. That's very different from covering the 
whole event, which news crews don't do. They 
anticipate a bit of action, a bit of a fight, then 
they anticipate a little bit of news coverage. And 
of course that's what happened throughout the 
strike, and that's what people were getting so 
upset about. Miners said, "I was on that picket 
line, I don't believe that the only thing we've got 



on the news is this bit of activity. For 24 hours all 
of those people were there; there was no prob- 
lem, no fighting, nothing. We had one incident 
caused by the police. There it is on the news." 
KI: The people involved in the editing of the 
tapes sort of laid Scargill's Albert Hall speech as 
a track, really, for many of the tapes. You'll find 
that when you watch the tapes several key lines 
of the speech come back again and again. You 
couldn't not use it for structure. You couldn't 
not use it as a foundation. 
MG: Can you place that particular meeting in 
the chronology of the strike? 
JM: It was about two months in. 
MG: And the strike lasted how many months? 
KI: Twelve months, almost to the day. 
MG: So that was fairly early? 
JM: It was the same day as the Kent miners 
marched up and everyone met in Nottingham. 
The Kent miners had been stopped at Dartford 
Tunnel, which is the tunnel underneath the 
Thames, where you leave Kent. If you live in the 
south of England, you say you're going into the 
north of England; in fact, it's still in the south of 
England. They were stopped there, and told they 
weren't allowed to leave. 
KI: In their cars. 
MG: What happened? 

KJ: They got out of their cars and walked 150 
miles or so. 

JM: The Yorkshire miners marched from the 
other side of England . It was a very, very big day. 
KI: When you look at the tapes, you'E notice 
quite clearly, I think, that most of the material 
centers around the early months of the strike, 
say, within the first six months. There was a rush 
to get the tapes edited so they could be used for 
raising funds for the NUM. Although it's under- 
standable— they were the Miners' Campaign 
Tapes, and they wanted to raise money to help 
support the strike. What that means is that there 
were still a good six months when people were 
shooting masses of material, and all of that 
material has never been put together. 
MG: Is anyone working on that? 
JM: It's now gone back to the individual 
workshops. It's important to remember, too, 
that people were producing their own tapes as 
well as the national tapes . If you watch all of the 
national tapes, one after the other, you see a 
number of shots repeated. If you were then to go 
to Wales, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, 
you would see that material again, and you'd see 
it used in different tapes in different ways. 

The impetus and support for the national 
tapes sort of ran aground, and arguments began 
over some bits that some workshops think are 
really tacky. For instance, in The Lie Machine, 
there's a number of freeze-frames and, in one 
section, a wolf howling in the background. Peo- 
ple became a lot more critical of such things. 



KI: It was as if they suddenly remembered that 
they were film and videomakers again. The 
criticism changed from political criticism, a 
political awareness, to visual awareness. When 
the tapes were actually produced and shown , in- 
itially people were glad that they were being used 
to get funds, but then different workshops 
would say, "Whose decision was it to edit it in 
that way? Why didn't we have any say in that?" 
MG: Do you think that some of that criticism 
was based on a different aesthetic than what was 
being used in these tapes? They're very carefully 
done, but they don't replicate the idioms and the 
cliches of broadcast TV. Do you feel that those 
criticisms might tend to produce work in the 
future that might be more conventional? 
JM: No. If anything, less conventional. 
KI: The bulk of the material that was shot came 
from a kind of mentality, if you like, that wasn't 
a TV mentality. It was in the editing stage that 
people decided, "We have to sharpen this up a 
bit; we have to put a kind of cohesion to it; we 
have to give it almost a 'broadcast' look." For 
instance, where there's a guy with his voiceover 
[in The Lie Machine], Let's face it, he has a sort 
of northern accent; it's certainly not a BBC ac- 
cent. But it's a talking head shot. It's a medium 
shot of a guy doing the commentary, with little 
quips. This is quite common on British TV — the 
political commentator. Some people argued, 
"Why do we have this guy? OK, we need a com- 
mentary, but why this particular person, why 
that particular accent?" 

There were other things in that tape, like 
freeze-frames and sound effects, almost like 
scratch video techniques of slowing it down and 
taking it back. These kind of techniques have 
been used more and more by the Channel 4 
workshops for television. And so, the criticisms, 
if anything, that arose were, "How come the 
tapes had suddenly become almost 'spruced up' 
for television?" 

JM: I think, to a certain extent, it's very difficult 
to make that sort of work without fitting into a 
fairly tight genre of documentary. 
KI: And that's what the people who edited tried 
to do. 

JM: I think they've done it very well. I think in- 
dependent film and videomakers fight hard 
against television conventions, so that it clearly 
has the stamp of "this isn't what you'd normally 
see coming out of the television set." 
KI: The music was also very good, because they 
used groups like the Clash, who are a left-wing 
political group, not a mainstream pop group. 
The music they used throughout, such as the 
song "Police and Thieves" [in Only Doing Their 
Job?], was a conscious choice. In the other TV 
programs dealing with this kind of subject mat- 
ter, the temptation is to go back to the classic 
documentary mode and use folk songs, mining 



24 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1986 



community songs, that sort of thing. 

JM: Brass bands. 

KI: Something from the community that will 

keep this whole thing homogenous. But because 

it was an independent series of programs, the 

music was chosen to echo this. 

I think it would be a valid criticism that the use 
of the fast freeze-frames, the sound effects and 
such things could almost be seen as gratuitous. It 
was as if somebody suddenly realized that maybe 
this will be used for television one day. Or "we 
have an uneducated audience out there in terms 
of independent film and video. Therefore, we've 
got to hold their attention. " A little bit of a panic 
there. 

JM: I think the biggest disagreements came 
when Channel 4 wanted to buy the tapes, wanted 
to show them. Then some people outside said, 
"No." 

MG: Which people? 

JM: Some of the workshops who sent material in 
said, "No, we shot that material with the under- 
standing it was not for television." Nottingham, 
particularly, and Chapter in Wales. 
H: And it never would have been shot in the first 
place, had it been intended for television. 
JM: Many times people being taped would ask, 
"Is it for television?" We said, "No, this is video 
for the community." 

KI: For the miners. For history, for the archives. 
JM: They'd say, "If I see this on television, 
forget it." 

KI: Historically, you can understand where that 
response comes from. The miners, but not just 
the miners, trade unionists in Britain— in par- 
ticular the day-to-day, hardcore, grassroots 
workers— are given a hard time by the media, 
particularly television. There's hardly anyone, 
even within the media, who will deny that it's 
biased like mad against them. 
MG: Channel 4 is not seen as different? 
KI: Yes, but not among the miners. 
JM: Yes, but Channel 4 wasn't prepared to ac- 
cept the tapes as they stood. 
KI: They wanted editorial control. 
JM: There was no guarantee that they weren't 
going to take bits out. They might even have just 
used snippets for a news item. They could have 
done. They did not say that what they wanted to 
do was run one of the campaign tapes in its en- 
tirety, including "Send donations to " 

MG: Why wouldn't they run that kind of 
material as is? 

KI: For a number of reasons. One has to do with 
the nature of television— what is and is not 
broadcastworthy, as it were. Quite a bit of this 
material was shot on VHS, although the majori- 
ty of it was low band U-matic. It's the Mickey 
Mouse argument again. The other thing was 
length. I think, to do a fair job, to contextualize 
The Miners' Campaign Tapes, you would have 



to show all of them in a series of programs, 
perhaps one evening after the other. When the 
discussions were going on, they weren't willing 
to do that. 

JM: And the discussions never actually got any 
further. 

MG: Did Channel 4 do anything on the strike? 
JM: Oh, yes. For instance, one of the longer pro- 
grams on Channel 4 was about a father and son, 
a family that split up. The father was not on 
strike, the son was on strike. The son would not 
speak to his father and mother, and his mother 
was upset because she'd walked past him in the 
street. It was all very "tearful." 
KI: It was a narrative. They make a program 
where the audience at home can focus on the 
family. The family is a firm institution, we can all 
understand and empathize with the family, 
therefore, it's a narrative concern. In contrast, 
The Campaign Tapes are highly politicized. 
They are biased; they don't pretend to be any- 
thing other than biased. They are pro-strike. 
They are left-wing. 

Also, any TV channel, and Channel 4's in- 
dependent sector is no different in this respect, 
has so many hours to show material. If all the 
tapes were shown together, then that means 
there's a lot of work from the workshops that 
maybe won't get aired that year. 
JM: And I still think that most important was a 
very strong feeling in the regions that their in- 
volvement with the miners, their families, and 
local trades councils, had been, with the under- 
standing that it wasn't for television. We made 
copies all the time, and we gave them to the 
miners, their families, and mining welfare 
groups. We lost track of where copies were go- 
ing, and they were put all the time. Practically 
every week in Nottingham, there was an organ- 
ized event showing some tapes: sometimes it was 
a dance, sometimes it was with music, but the 
tapes kept appearing all the time. They were 
shown all over, and probably much more suc- 
cessfully than if they'd just been on television. 
MG: And how do you see them being successful 
in that sense? 

JM: Successful In raising money, which was im- 
portant. 

MG: And where did the money go? 
KI: To the miners. To the NUM, to the local 
trades councils, to suport the families. 
JM: It was money for food and living expenses. 
Miners and their families were having a really 
hard time. There was just no money. 
KI: They were also politically successful, not just 
financially; they proved that there was an alter- 
native to the mainstream media. And they proved 
that the media isn't just the bad guys behind the 
TV cameras who were going to give you a bad 
time if you were left-wing or trade unionists, that 
independent film and videomakers do have a 



certain political credibility. Because the tapes 
haven't been on television, we'll be able to col- 
laborate on something like this again without 
losing the groundwork that was done to assure 
these people that we weren't just going to point 
cameras at them and then edit it for television. 
You might have noticed, in some of the 
material in The Miners' Tapes, it's not just them 
being represented. The way the shots are con- 
structed in interviews, quite often, there's a con- 
cern to let them represent themselves. 
MG: Can you give an example from the tapes? 
KI: In Not Just Tea and Sandwiches, several of 
the women's support groups who were working 
in Nottingham learned how to use the equip- 
ment, a day, maybe two days before. James was 
one of the instructors who would teach them, 
and the next day they were there on the scene. It 
was quite collaborative. The technological pro- 
cess became part of the whole interviewing pro- 
cess, as opposed to being outside of it. 
JM: That's why there are very few cutaway 
shots. People weren't even doing them, because 
there wasn't the time to do it, but also, these 
tapes weren't shot in the classical way — "Right, 
we've got to have the cutaway shot" — in order to 
give the editor absolute freedom. 
KI: If you look at British mainstream television, 
particularly news programs, what they do when 
interviewing management in a strike situa- 
tion — and strike situations on television in Brit- 
ain are very common — is interview management 
at a desk. They are seated at a desk, and the 
camera is on its tripod, and framed, composed 
for management. Where are the trade unionists? 
Where are the shop stewards? They're out on the 
picket line. It's the camera on someone's 
shoulder, and they're given far less time. The 
way the shot is constructed is less formal. The 
way the interview takes place is so different from 
management. Now in The Miners' Tapes, say in 
The Lie Machine, the trade unionists that are in- 
terviewed are in their offices, at their desks, or at 
chair or by a phone. This is quite rare. They were 
asked, "We're going to come to do this interview 
with you, where do you want to do it?" 
Although watching the tapes you may not be 
conscious of this, but this makes a big difference. 
They have some control. 
MG: Because of the links formed between in- 
dependent producers and the ACTT through the 
Channel 4 workshops and the new links between 
independent producers and the broader union 
movement, because of The Miners' Tapes, is the 
ACTT shifting, being pushed, or being influenced 
by this collaboration? 

KI: No. The independent film and videomakers 
who have entered the union, that section of the 
union is pushing and is influencing the ACTT as 
a whole, but it's very, very early days. As an ex- 
ample, at our AGM, our annual general meeting 



MARCH 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



each year when everyone goes down to London, 
there are all sorts of motions that are put for- 
ward. This year there were motions from various 
workshops put forward in support of the miners' 
strike. The wording would be something like, 
"This union, the ACTT, fully endorses and sup- 
ports the strike, blah, blah, blah, good luck to 
the miners." And there were motions like, "This 
union fully deplores the way the media is giving 
biased coverage. This union will not endorse bias 
in the media toward the miners. " Now this is the 
media union. There was a lot of discussion 
within the union, as you can imagine. 
MG: What was the outcome? 
JM: Most of them passed. 
KI: Which is good. 

JM: You see, the independents and most of the 
other people on our committee in our region are 
news people. And they were having a good time 
during the strike, make no mistake. They had so 
much overtime, they were getting new cars out of 
it. 

KI: "You want a new car? Put your on the 
picket line, because if you put it right there, the 
miners are going to bash it up, and you can in a 
claim for a new car." 

JM: "You want a drink? This one's on Scargill. 
I'm doing very well, thanks." 
KI: It's not a left-wing union. 
JM: It's not considered with high regard. . . . 
KI: By the Labor Party. 
JM: Or by the main trade union movement. 
KI: You say, "I'm a trade unionist." And they 
say, "What union are you in?" You say, 
"ACTT," and people laugh. But it is getting bet- 
ter. The fact that these motions were put forward 
and the majority were passed, unanimously in 
every case, that in itself is a big move forward. It 
really is progress. But, it is very much a craft- 
based union, and it's very much outside of the 
trade union history, the industrial tradition. 

The Conservative government in power is do- 
ing everything in its power to destroy the union 
movement. The reason why the miners' strike 
was such a momentous event in British history 
was because if the NUM failed, if this strike was 
won by the government— and it wasn't just the 
National Coal Board, it was very much the gov- 
ernment—then that's it. It's going to change the 
face of British trade unionism. And it has. 
MG: Can't the Conservative government's anti- 
union agenda be related to the defunding of 
other social programs— like independent media? 
KI: To be absolutely frank, our funding depends 
to a large extent on whether or not the Labor 
Party wins the next election, because one of the 
other things the Conservative Party has done is 
abolish the Eady Levy. In Britain, every time 
someone goes to a cinema — and, of course, in 
Britain the number of cinemagoers is dropping 
rapidly — a percentage of what they pay for their 
ticket goes to the British Film Institute. The BFI 
funds things like the National Film School; 
money for production goes to workshops. The 
Conservative government has said, "Why 
26 THE INDEPENDENT 



should cinemagoers have to pay this? We'll 
abolish the Eady Levy." Also, when you buy a 
blank videotape, a certain amount of money 
goes back to the ACTT. Every time you put a 
program on the air, there's residuals. This whole 
method of getting money back from things — the 
government's trying to cut that as well as cutting 
the arts generally. Any kind of legislation which 
is anti-trade union affects any union, including 
the ACTT, and it has been affected by this. 
JM: Money's a big problem. But I think there're 
possibilities of money coming from trade unions 
for independent film and video. There's an 
awareness now that it might be possible for peo- 
ple within a trade union to go to a video project 
or a film workshop and be involved in making a 
tape or film. I don't think it's going to make an 
enormous difference, but .... 
KI: But, you're forgetting the political levy. 
Again, it comes back to the government in 
power. If we think there might be money from 
trade unionists, it's going to come from the left 
wing of trade unions. Now, the left-wing 
unionists are the same people who have been 
paying something that's called a political levy. In 
the ACTT, if you belong to the Labor Party, you 
pay three cents a week or whatever it is in our 
union — it's pathetic — but in most unions it's 
more like 15 cents per member, per week, to the 
Labor Party through your union. The main por- 
tion of Labor Party funds come from trade 
unions. Conservative government's now saying, 
"Forget this, everybody in the union can 
vote . . . . " 

JM: No, it's always been voluntary whether or 
not you pay. 

KI: Yes, but the government is introducing a 
vote on whether or not the unions want to keep 
the political levy. The Conservative government 
wants to drop the political levy. So any money, 
one could argue, that might come out of trade 
unions to endorse video or film activity would 
come from the same fund that's in jeopardy. 
JM: The Conservative government suddenly re- 
alized that unions are quite rich. 
KI: When you talk about the independent film 
and videomakers' links with trade unionism, you 
have to look within the wider political spectrum. 
And so these things matter. A great deal. But The 
Miners' Tapes also played a role there. Because of 
those tapes really strong links have been built be- 
tween unions and community video projects — 
more than film workshops, because the com- 
munity video projects had VHS, had the mobility, 
if you like. 

JM: And the cheapness. 
KI: Sure, to go out day after day after day and 
form real links, quite emotional links, as well, 
within these mining communities. Because of the 
respect that many trade union groups now have 
for these projects, they will support them. Like 
when the Nottingham Video Project was on 
strike, for example, there were a lot of trade 
unionists on the picket line. 
MG: What was at issue in that strike? 



JM: The government's Manpower Services 
Commission funded Nottingham Video Project. 
They usually fund for a year, and at the end of a 
year the work force usually has to change. Be- 
cause of the nature of the work, we were arguing 
that our work force stay the same. 
KI: The project was the work force, in actual 
fact. 

JM: This all went absolutely fine, but basically 
what we were doing was trying to get union 
recognition, ACTT recognition. And, for the 
last week of funding from MSC, we got ACTT 
recognition, but that was only for a week, a lot of 
work for . . . 

H: For a good principle. 
JM: A most important principle. 
KI: But there was a lot of support, lobbying, let- 
ters written, from the trade unionists in the area. 
Had it not been for the involvement in The 
Miners' Tapes, that wouldn't have happened. 
Certainly not to that extent. 
MG: Has there been much discussion or debate 
among independent producers on future rela- 
tions with the union movement, how the media 
can affect, or even work against, the political 
situation that's taking shape in Britain. The out- 
come of the strike was a negative blow, right? 
JM: It's important that this work doesn't just 
stop. That's been some people's criticisms of the 
way some people have worked on this project. 
They've taken the phenomena of the strike, 
made some tapes, and then stopped, carried on 
with other work. There's a lot of work that needs 
continuing. One of the tapes now in production 
in Nottingham is called After the Strike. 
KI: It came out of criticism — which I personally 
agree with — of The Miners' Campaign Tapes. In 
a sense the tapes emulated or took on the tradi- 
tion of "newsworthiness." Everything happened 
within the first six months. There was a massive 
amount of energy and collaboration put forward 
to collect the material, to edit it, to put these 
tapes together. And then, suddenly, it seems to 
have been dropped. The money ran out, the 
energy ran out. But, in a way, it was as if people 
thought this is no longer newsworthy. OK, the 
strike's over. The National Coal Board, the gov- 
ernment won, if you want to use crude terms. 
Therefore, we drop it. We go on to the next 
thing, right? 

After the Strike is based on the idea that you 
can't do this. You can't just drop something be- 
cause of newsworthiness, because of the im- 
mediacy of the project. You have to do a follow- 
up. You have to be more thorough than that. 
You have to look at the political events follow- 
ing, not just during and leading up to this strike. 
Let's look at these comunities. Let's not just 
leave them in shambles. Let's examine what's 
happening and analyze the situation now. 
JM: Or let the communities analyze it them- 
selves. 

KI: This tape is going to be made not just of, rep- 
resenting the miners, but with the miners. 

MARCH 1986 



BOOK REVIEW 



LIBERATION IDEOLOGY 



Third Cinema in the Third World: 
The Aesthetics of Liberation 

by Teshome H. Gabriel 

Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 

1982, 147pp., $42.95 



Allan Siegel 



With the first screenings of films like The Hour 
of the Furnaces, by Fernando Solanas and 
Octavio Getino (1968), Black Girl, by Ousmane 
Sembene (1966), or Memories of Underdevelop- 
ment, by Tomas Gutierrez Alea (1968), movie- 
goers were confronted with a new spectrum of 
ideas, emotions, and images. A new cinema 
emerged from countries in Africa, Asia, and 
Latin America that directly assaulted the col- 
onial past. The forebearers of third world 
cinema proclaimed both the necessity and the 
capability of defining the terms of their cultural 
expression. In his book, Teshome H. Gabriel not 
only analyzes some of these films, but examines 
interrelationships that determine third world 
cinema: not simply films produced within the 
third world, but an alternative cinema, "... a 
cinema of decolonization and for liberation . . . 
a "Third Cinema.'" 

For Gabriel, Third Cinema is "built on the re- 
jection of the concepts and propositions of tra- 
ditional cinema, as presented by Hollywood." It 
also transcends national boundaries: "Third 
Cinema is really not so much where it is made, or 
even who makes it, but rather, the ideology it 
espouses and the consciousness it displays." It is 
a cinema that has evolved with, grown out of, 
and inspired anti-colonial liberation struggles; it 
is a part of the process of shaping national cul- 
tural identities. Third Cinema rejects the com- 
mercial priorities that dominate most Western 
models of filmmaking. 

Gabriel clearly differentiates his approach 
from structuralist and semiological critical 
studies, methods he finds inappropriate for a full 
understanding of third world cinema. He first 
outlines his conceptual framework, based on the 
work of theoreticians such as Louis Althusser, 
Frantz Fanon, and Amilcar Cabral. All three 
have contributed to an understanding of the de- 
velopment of ideological consciousness and the 
role played by mass communications in that pro- 
cess. But Fanon and Cabral figure prominently 
because of their direct experience of third world 
struggles. Adopting Cabral's and Fanon's anal- 

MARCH 1986 




yses, Gabriel enlists filmmaking, like other 
cultural activity, as a "'weapon' in the struggle 
for independence." 

His central thesis, then, is that "any theory 
and criticism of film within the context of Third 
Cinema cannot be separated from the practical 
uses of film." The implications of this position 
become clear when contrasted with the ideas 
proposed in Julianne Burton's essay "Marginal 
Cinemas and Mainstream Critical Theory," in 
the May- August 1985 issues of Screen, where she 
argues for the interdependence of critical theory 
from the developed world and third world film. 
Gabriel, however, finds this relationship pre- 
mature, even dangerous, because it presupposes 
a common purpose. Without rejecting Western 
critical theory, he attempts to elaborate upon 
and, indeed, discover the theoretical threads 
within third world cinema. 

. . . any definition of film outside of the econom- 
ic and social sphere has the tendency to see mean- 
ing in "form" alone. A study which treats film 
strictly as a metasystem, does not take into ac- 
count the external factors influencing it or the 
ideological mediation in operation, is mislead- 
ing, and a gross error in any analysis of cinema. 

Throughout his book, Gabriel synthesizes a 
theory of cinema based upon the objectives and 
definitions utilized and developed by third world 
filmmakers themselves. Burton, on the other 



Teshome Gabriel examines 
the ways that films like 
Ousmane Sembene's "Emltai" 
help shape national cultural 
Identities In "Third Cinema In 
the Third World." 

Courtesy New Yorker Films 

hand, disparages this. 

Film criticism in [Latin America] suffers from 
. . . [an] imbalance in that the vast majority of 
Latin American film journals have been founded 
and edited by people who are also directly in- 
volved in producing and promoting independent 
national cinema. 

What Gabriel considers a fundamental strength, 
Burton views as a weakness. Although both 
would probably agree on the causes of this situa- 
tion, their differing appraisals of the benefits 
raises some basic questions. 

Among progressive filmmakers in the United 
States there has been little open dialogue regard- 
ing theoretical or ideological assumptions. Over 
the years, the historical separation between theo- 
retician and filmmaker has become institutional- 
ized to everyone's detriment. Film as a commod- 
ity first and art second (if at all) has been 
historically embedded within the North Ameri- 
can film industry. Now, this skewed division is 
further buttressed by an ever-expanding educa- 
tional system that quite often presents film pro- 
duction and film theory as conflicting interests. 
Thus we have distinctions like critical studies vs. 
film production, cinema studies vs. filmmaking, 
political films vs. films notarized as an. What 
these separations create is a peripheral cinema 
that is socially conscious, but for the most part 
ideologically invisible. In fact, many progressive 
THE INDEPENDENT 27 



filmmakers in North America and Europe con- 
centrate on third world struggles at the expense 
of their own experiences. Finding the criticism 
produced under these conditions inadequate, 
Gabriel stresses, and Burton sidesteps, the 
political and social context within which third 
world cinema has evolved. 

Gabriel seems to revert to simplistic critical 
methods, however, when he attempts to analyze 
"major themes in Third World Cinema," such 
as class, culture, religion, sexism, and armed 
struggle. The author acknowledges the inade- 
quacy of an approach that separates these 
themes and then proceeds to do just that. In- 
deed, this presentation seems a throwback to a 
restrictive, narrow, and debilitating thematic an- 
alysis, which Gabriel says he is trying to expand. 
Many of the films mentioned in this chapter — 
for instance, Lucia, Last Grave at Dimbaza, The 
Last Supper, and The Promised Land — func- 
tion thematically on more than one level, often 
establishing dialectical relationships that require 
a complex analytical method. 

Gabriel does manage to avoid the temptation 
to create inappropriate categories in his section 
on "revolutionary films," where he refines his 
definition of revolutionary cinema through an 
extended comparison of three films: Sembene's 
Emitai, Humberto Solas's Lucia, and Miguel 
Littin's The Promised Land. Littin judges a film 
revolutionary "through the contract that it 




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establishes with its public principally through its 
influence as a mobilizing agent for revolutionary 
action." Sembene, however, had different 
thoughts about his film Mandabi: "I had no 
belief that after people saw it they would go out 
and make a revolution." In Gabriel's definition, 
revolutionary cinema is not bound by a specific 
model, but ranges from the intentionally incen- 
diary to the culturally affirmative. 

Gabriel also addresses the related question, 
what are the politics of style? Do similar 
ideologies necessitate similar styles? Does the 
absence of close-ups mean that a film cannot be 
socialist? Or, does the preponderance of Soviet- 
style montage mean that a film is less bourgeois? 
Gabriel believes that no single style is bound to a 
particular ideology, but that a distinct style 
reveals a film's ideological undercurrents. Style 
is not simply a function of directorial design; it 
also consciously reflects a film's national origins 
and aspirations to maintain a national identity. 
This relationship is elaborated in Gabriel's 
analysis of four sets of films, including Bay of 
Pigs (USA/NBQ and Playa Giron (Cuba). 
These two films depict the same historical event 
but differ radically in both perspective and in- 
tent: the NBC film individualizes history; the 
Cuban film emphasizes the collective meaning of 
history. In Bay of Pigs the leaders of the U.S. 
government assume the foreground, and the 
CIA-financed invasion force is relegated to a 



supporting role. Thus, the CIA becomes the 
elusive villain responsible for the aborted inva- 
sion. But in Playa Giron, the Cuban people be- 
come the heroes, while Castro plays a minimal 
role. Both films retell an event. The historical 
episode retold in Bay of Pigs reproduces an illu- 
sion of truth and objectivity. Playa Giron, on the 
other hand, "thus acquires a self-reflective di- 
mension as it reveals the process of its construc- 
tion while foregrounding the problematic rela- 
tion between history (the events) and fiction 
(their recreation)." 

Gabriel concludes with an important distinc- 
tion, "Cultural Codes vs. Ideological Codes," 
based on the theoretic concepts of Cabral, who 
"... interprets the Third World struggles for na- 
tional liberation not only as & product of culture, 
but also as a determinant of culture." This is in 
keeping with Gabriel's whole project: to demys- 
tify the various elements of third world cinema, 
presented not only as actual accomplishments, 
but as possibilities as well. In his conclusion he 
states, "Third Cinema aims at a destruction and 
construction at the same time . . . . " And his book 
acknowledges and dissects both sides of this con- 
tradiction. Gabriel's study should prove impor- 
tant for those trying to reconcile their own ar- 
tistic imperatives with everyday social reality. 

Allan Siegel, a film producer and director, is the 
associate director of Third World Newsreel. 



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28 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1986 



FESTIVALS 



MUNICH'S MUNIFICENCE 





Kirby Dick's Intimate look at sex therapy, 
screened at Munich. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



'Private Practices," was 



"The Old Forest," a story of scandal and the southern Old Guard, 
was featured at Munich. 

Courtesy filmmakers 



Deborah Lefkowitz 



"The last week in June, everything revolves 
around the movie theaters in Munich," pro- 
claims Eberhard Hauff , director of the Munich 
Film Festival. Now in its fourth year, the festival 
has succeeded in becoming a major public event, 
drawing 60,000 viewers last year. While Berlin 
remains Germany's foremost festival, Munich 
offers a more relaxed, intimate atmosphere, de- 
signed to give smaller films a better chance at 
distribution deals, sales, and press coverage. 

Munich is also one of the few European festi- 
vals that specifically caters to U.S. independent 
film. Seventy-three of the 210 films shown last 
year were U.S. productions. Most of these went 
into the Off-Hollywood section of the festival, 
which was housed in its own theater. Other sec- 
tions, accommodated at 11 additional theaters 
throughout the city, included international first- 
run films, New German Cinema, Eastern Euro- 
pean films, women directors, children's films, 
and music films. 

"What's great about Munich," says writer/ 
director Andrew Silver, who was there last year 
with Return, "is that audiences really like the 
films." Filmmakers can usually count on full 
houses and good feedback. Some of the sites in- 
clude a cafe set up to facilitate informal discus- 
sions after the screenings. 

Filmmakers cannot, however, assume their 
work will be covered by the press. Deac Rossell, 
one of the stateside scouts for Munich, points 
MARCH 1986 



out that the German film press operates very dif- 
ferently from their U.S. counterparts. Critics are 
more likely to write feature articles about film 
trends than individual film reviews. U.S. film- 
makers looking for American-style publicity 
may be disappointed, but this does not mean 
their films go unnoticed. "In America," says 
Rossell, "filmmakers need a press kit to get the 
attention of the professional film community. In 
Germany, nobody waits for the press to make 
their assessments." 

Those who worked hard at promoting their 
films at the festival fared better than those who 
did not. Katy Bolger, the lead actress in Dennis 
Piana and Rufus Butler Seder's Screamplay, was 
one of the most successful. She was interviewed 
numerous times on both radio and TV, generat- 
ing tremendous attention for herself, her film, 
and U.S. independents in general. Her advice 
was simple and succinct: "Go with a very 
positive attitude. Have fun. And bring a great 
wardrobe. With so many films screened at the 
festival, you have to make your film stand out. If 
it takes buying drinks for everyone in the place, 
do it." 

In retrospect, filmmakers tended to talk more 
about the social aspects of the festival than about 
the deals they had made there. "Socializing is 
great if you can afford the trip to Germany for 
it," commented one. Filmmakers are responsi- 
ble for paying their own airfare to Munich; once 
there the festival provides accommodations. 
Says Lynda Hansen, director of the Artist Spon- 
sorship Program at the New York Foundation 



for the Arts, "It's difficult to assess the direct 
results in terms of buying and selling. More im- 
portant is what results from relationships over 
time. Munich is a great place to meet people." 

Unfortunately, exchanges between U.S. in- 
dependents and their German counterparts, one 
of the highlights of the festival in the past, hardly 
took place last year. One reason is that the Off- 
Hollywood section was moved to a larger but 
more remote theater to accommodate the in- 
creased number of films. While most festival 
theaters were located in close proximity to each 
other, getting to the Off-Hollywood section re- 
quired quite a walk. Tight scheduling and large 
crowds did not allow much movement back and 
forth. The additional factor of the absence of 
English subtitles for most foreign-language films 
also discouraged U.S. attendance at other sec- 
tions. 

The Munich Film Festival is still growing, and 
its organizers admit they haven't worked out all 
the bugs yet. Next year's participants can expect 
more attention to improving mobility between 
sections and meetings between filmmakers. But 
this is really the icing on the cake for a festival 
that has proven valuable for other reasons. Ex- 
plains Screamplay producer and cinematogra- 
pher Piana, "Our next project is going to happen 
because of the good exposure we received in Ger- 
many. The festival created a sense of hope." 

Deborah Lefkowitz is a Boston-based indepen- 
dent filmmaker. 

THE INDEPENDENT 29 



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• Important addresses 

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The Munich Film Festival incorporates a broad 
spectrum of work, both fictional and documen- 
tary, mainstream and more personal, but the 
focus is feature films of one hour or more in 
length. The best way to catch the eye of festival 
scouts is to show up at other festivals, especially 
Filmex, Cannes, or the Independent Feature 
Market. For more information, contact Deac 
Rossell, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington 
Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. Fest dates: late 
June-early July. Deadline: May. Contact in Ger- 
many: Eberhard Hauff or Ursula Rapp, Film- 
fest Munchen, Munchen Filmwochen Gmbtl, 
Turkenstrasse 93, 8000 Munchen 40, W. Ger- 
many. 



30 THE INDEPENDENT 



VENI, VIDI VENICE 

The Venice Film Festival is one of the largest and 
most prestigious film festivals on the European 
circuit. As the sole annual event of the biannual 
arts celebration, la Biennale di Venezia, the aim 
of the festival, according to event publicity, is 
"to encourage creative vitality" in the cinema 
"both as an art form and as entertainment." 

With close to 150 films and videos exhibited, 
the festival was massive, spanning over two 
weeks and spread among seven screening halls. 
The official competition section consisted of 23 
features from 18 countries. The U.S. entries were 
Jerzy Skolimowski's The Lightship and John 
Huston's Prizzi's Honor. Other sections of the 
festival included films and videos made for tele- 
vision, featuring a selection of long-form music 
videos, films by and/or geared to young people, 
first and second features by young Italian direc- 
tors, and a "Venice Special" — apparendy a catch- 
all category presenting films not in competition. 

I was invited, along with coproducer Sarah 
Green, to present our short film Architects of 
Victory as part of the long-form music video 
program. The festival does not normally exhibit 
shorts unless they happen to fit one of its other 
criteria. As it turned out, only a third of the 
videos were actually long-form in concept, the 
rest being compilations of shorter videos 
(Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Rolling 
Stones), concert videos (Tina Turner), or "mak- 
ing of videos (. . . Thriller). The vast majority 
of them had major record label backing or at 
least involved known musical acts. Our film had 
neither. Giacomo Mazzone, the programmer of 
the music video section, explained to me that he 
would have preferred more concept videos and 
more independently produced videos, particularly 
from the U.S., but he had little opportunity to 
identify U.S. independent products. 

Despite our lack of glossy credentials and the 
fact that, at 14 minutes, our film was one of the 

MARCH 1986 



shortest selections in last year's festival, we were 
treated very well. We were put up in one of 
Venice's most pleasant hotels, complete with 
three gourmet meals a day, and given passes to 
attend all of the screenings. In addition, the 
organizers arranged an informal press confer- 
ence that gave us the chance to meet and talk 
with foreign journalists. 

We did, however, encounter an unfortunate 
mishap on the actual day of our screening. 
Knowing that the film would be shown on video 
and anticipating problems with European televi- 
sion standards, I checked with the festival 
organizers in advance to make sure their projec- 
tion facilities would accommodate the U.S. 
NTSC standard. As it turned out there was in- 
deed an NTSC compatible deck— but not an 
NTSC compatible projection unit. 

Consequently, our four screenings scheduled 
and publicized for that day were cancelled. After 
two days of frustration and uncertainty, we 
finally tracked down a 16mm print in Rome. The 
next day we were given two showings in a near- 
by screening room, but the attendance suffered 
from the impromptu arrangements. As the only 
real independents in the music video section, 
without record company support, we did not 
have the resources nor the need to previously 
convert the film to European video standards. I 
was once again reminded of Murphy's Law and 
the difficulties of being an independent while still 
trying to play in the major leagues. 

The marketplace aspect of the Venice Film 
Festival seemed somewhat secondary to its role 
as a celebration of movies. Certainly it is no place 
to sell a short film, although programmers from 
other international film festivals do attend. The 
only direct distribution arrangement we made 
was through one of the videomusica organizers 
for cable showings in Italy. It was a bit 
disappointing to find such an emphasis on big 
Hollywood films. The Italian premieres of Back 
to the Future, Cocoon, Silverado, and Mad Max 
Beyond Thunderdome, none of which were in 
competition, along with a retrospective of 
Disney films, seemed to dominate both poster 
space and public attention, even though this 
Hollywood contingent made up only a small 
portion of the total films exhibited. Mel Gibson, 
Robert Duvall, Gerard Depardieu, and Michael 
J. Fox were among the stars who would occa- 
sionally be spotted in the cafes, usually sur- 
rounded by a bevy of reporters and fans. Still, 
the art and craft of filmmaking was by no means 
ignored. Films by Alain Tanner, Agnes Varda, 
Kon Ichikawa, Manuel de Oliveira, Krzysztof 
Zanussi, Noel Burch, and Shirley Clarke were 
more typical of the festival fare. One particularly 
fascinating symposium was lead by Michelan- 
gelo Antonioni, who described and demon- 
strated his recent work in high definition video. 

With the festival's events spread out over 
nearly a quarter mile strip, the atmosphere is not 
always conducive to casual meetings or conver- 



sation with the thousands of filmmakers, jour- 
nalists, and other film types in attendance. Side- 
walk cafes served as the main meeting places. 
A knowledge of Italian, or at least French or 
German, is virtually a prerequisite for making 
valuable contacts. And though there were 
numerous films in English (some even from non- 
English speaking countries), most of the films 
shown were subtitled only in Italian. Finally, a 
warning to anyone wishing to "drop in" on the 
Venice Film Festival: the general public is al- 
lowed to purchase (expensive) tickets to only a 
small selection of events. The greater part of the 
festival is simply not accessible to anyone 
without a "participant," "journalist," or other 
officially sanctioned pass. 

But as a "celebration of movies" the Venice 
Film Festival can be immensely stimulating. 
Situated alongside a beautiful stretch of beach 
on the Adriatic Sea, and filled with a broad spec- 
trum of international filmmakers presenting 
their recent works, the place has a certain spirit, 
enough perhaps to convince a sometimes disillu- 
sioned filmmaker that maybe this business is 
worth it after all. 

— Jeffrey Kimball 

Jeffrey Kimball is an independent producer, di- 
rector, and editor living in New York City. 

Dates: Aug. 30-Sept. 10. Contact: Settor 
Cinema and Spettacolo Television, Ca Ciustin- 
ian, San Marco, 301 Venice, Italy; tel. (041) 
700311; telex 41 0685 BLE- VE-I. Deadline: June. 



No light matter 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Robert Aaronson and Judith Radler. 
Listings do not constitute an endorsement, 

and since some details change faster than 
we do, we recommend that you contact 
the festival for further information before 
sending prints or tapes. If your experience 
differs from our account, please let us know 
so we can improve our reliablity. 

DOMESTIC 



• FOCUS STUDENT FILM AWARDS, Sept., Los 
Angeles. 1 Oth anniversary of Nissan-sponsored com- 
petition. 20 awards in 8 categories incl. sound, 
editing & cinematography. Separate feature length 
screenwriting competition. Last year $60,000 in cash 
and Nissan cars awarded. Deadline: April. Fee: $15. 
30 min. max. running time. Film must have been 
completed within past 2 years. Contact Sam Katz, 
FOCUS, 1140 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 
10036; (212) 575-0270. 




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MARCH 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 31 



• MARGARET MEAD FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 
14-18, New York City. 10th anniversary of this 
"public education event" for documentaries on a 
range of subjects. Although originally a festival of 
anthropological & ethnological films only, it has ex- 
panded to include social and political issues 
(although the latter is least emphasized). Continues 
to be held at the excellent facilities of the American 
Museum of Natural History. Last year's selections 
incl. All Under Heaven, by Carma Hinton & Richard 
Gordon, Metropolitan Avenue, by Christine 
Noschese, Voices of the Gods, by Al Santana & 
American Journey, by Jack Levine & Lisa Maya 
Knauer. According to festival administrator and co- 
programmer Jonathan Stack, "Almost all the film- 
makers attend the screenings." Approx. 50 films 
screened out of 300 submissions. Attendees have in- 
cluded representatives from Nyon & Cinema du Reel 
festivals. In 1985 the American Federation of Arts 
packaged 10 of the festival's films for a national tour. 
This year the festival expands from 4 days to 5 & will 
add a best of fest 10-year retrospective. Approx. 
5,500 attend over the course of the event. Press 
screenings occur beforehand. Coverage in Variety, 
the Village Voice & elsewhere. Rental fees paid. No 
entry fee, no forms. 16mm & 35mm only. Video ac- 
cepted for pre-selection. Deadline May 1. Contact 
Dr. Malcom Arth, Chair, Education Dept. or 
Jonathan Stack, American Museum of Natural 
History, Central Park West at 79th St., New York, 
NY 10024; (212) 873-1070. 

• SINKING CREEK FILM CELEBRA TION, June 
10-5, Nashville. Since 1970 this event, held at 
Vanderbilt University, has provided an intensive lab 
atmosphere in which filmmakers & students gather to 
celebrate documentary, dramatic, experimental & 
animated independent filmmaking. Mary Jane Cole- 
man, the festival's founder & director, guides the 
program with a vision & enthusiasm that has sustain- 
ed and expanded the event each year. One main 
feature is the $7,000 in cash & equipment awards for 
the categories of young filmmaker, student & in- 
dependent. Two years ago the competition expanded 
from a 30-min. to a 60-min. max. running time & in 
1986 the competition will, for the first time, invite 
feature films (over 60 min.) According to Coleman, 
this signals Sinking Creek's intention to "recognize 
the major growth in independent features & allow for 
that in the competition and in the workshops." The 
workshop component accounts for much of the ac- 
tivity at Sinking Creek. Again, these technical and 
professional forums will be geared towards larger 
formats and budgets in addition to the traditional 
beginning workshops that, says Coleman, "will 
hopefully be helpful to all filmmakers." The event 
also highlights the work of an individual filmmaker, 
with that filmmaker present. Last year, Jackie 
Raynal, David Williams & Cecile Starr of the 
Women's Independent Film Exchange were 
featured. Judges were Kelly Coleson from the Hir- 
shorn Museum, Ron Green, chair, Ohio State 
Film/Video dept. & noted filmmaker & 
photographer Willard Van Dyke. Entry fee: $8-$30. 
Deadline: April-May 2. Contact Mary Jane Cole- 
man, Dir., Sinking Creek Film Celebration, 1250 Old 
Shiloh Rd., Greenville, TN 37743; (615) 638-6524. 
For info regarding festival attendance, contact Sar- 
ratt Student Center, Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN 
37240. Campus housing available. 

• STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS, June, Los 
Angeles. 13th annual regional contest for $1 ,000 cash 
awards sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture 
Arts & Sciences. Categories: animation, documen- 
tary, dramatic, experimental. Formats: 16mm, 
35mm & 70mm. Must be school project. 60-min. 
max. running time. Deadline: April. Contact Jo Ann 
Hanley, The American Museum of the Moving Im- 



age, 34-12 36th St., Astoria, NY 11106; (718) 
784-4520. 

• SUFFOLK COUNTY FILM AND VIDEO COM- 
PETITION, Spring, NY. For film & videotapes 
made between April 1980 & April 1986 in which sub- 
ject, maker, theme, location, etc. relates to Suffolk 
County, NY. Public screenings at 4 venues on Long 
Island during spring & summer, plus a 6-week run on 
cable. Awards presentation August 26 in East Hamp- 
ton for $250 cash in each category & special merit 
awards for runners-up. Categories are arts & enter- 
tainment, documentary & education, sales & market- 
ing, student. Winners last year incl. Frank Prinzi's 
Soldiers, David Schwartz's Deadhead, Daniel 
Taplitz's Five Out of Six & Robert Jacobson's Psalm 
for Moshe in student. Fees: $50; $25 for students. 
Maximum running time: 60 min. Deadline: April 30. 
Contact Suffolk County Motion Picture & TV Com- 
mission, Dennison Bldg., 11th fl., Veterans 
Memorial Highway, Happauge, NY 11788; (516) 
588-1000. 



• THREE RIVERS ARTS FESTIVAL, June 6-22, 
Pittsburgh. 27th annual event is sponsored by Muse- 
um of Art, Carnegie Institute. "Event celebrated 
both visual & performing arts. Juried shows staged in 
film & video, as well as painting, graphics, craft & 
photography." Open to artists from PA, OH, NY, 
NJ, DE, MD, VA, WV, DC. For entry forms & more FOREIGN 
information, contact Paul Sullivan, Visual Arts 
Coordinator, Three River Arts Festival, 5 Gateway 
Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15222; (215) 261-7040 or 
send a note requesting forms accompanied by 2 first 
class stamps. 



1986. According to Christine Bickford, Media Serv- 
ices librarian & programmer, their hope is to expand 
to a full week from a weekend in order to present 
more work "emphasizing a wide range of styles & 
genres" in film & video, incl. perhaps a retrospective 
of work from previous festivals or full evenings de- 
voted to a particular genre such as animation. Over 
250 submissions were received for last year's 
somewhat scaled down event that screened 4 works 
on tape & 5 on film, including Color Pieces, by Nan 
Hoover, A Nation Uprooted: Afghan Refugees in 
Pakistan, by Judith Mann, Shirley Clarke's 
Tongues, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, by 
Mirra Bank, Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer, Small 
Happiness, by Carma Hinton & Richard Gordon & 
Handing the Baton, by Judi Fogelman. 1984's pro- 
gram was more typical . 1 5 films & videos were screen- 
ed. Discussions take place after screenings & speakers 
receive honoraria. Rental fee paid for work screened. 
Bickford is planning critics' forums & other special 
events for the upcoming year. No fee. Format: 16mm 
& V* ". Deadline: April 30. Contact Barnard College 
Library Media Services, Broadway at 116th St., New 
York, NY 10027-6598; (212) 280-2418. 



• WORKS BY WOMEN, Oct., New York City. 
Sponsored by Barnard College Library Media Serv- 
ices, this non-competitive showcase for film & video 
made by women will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 



• ADELAIDE CHILDREN'S FILM AND VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, July 14-18, Australia. 7th annual fes- 
tival sponsored by the South Australia Council for 
Children's Film & Television, Inc., celebrating 150th 
anniversary of the state of South Australia. Catego- 
ries incl. films for children ages 4-7 & films for 
children 8-12. According to festival director Eileen 




Bill Ackrldge and Dan Leegant In 
tion In Locarno. 

Photo Burns & Associates 



'Signal 7," Rob Nllsson's feature that appeared in competl- 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1986 



Sharman, they are particularly interested in work 
suitable for the younger group. Festival utilizes 4 dif- 
ferent cinemas; screenings start at 10 A.M. Geared 
toward school groups. 19 features from Australia, 
Great Britain, India, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, 
Canada, Denmark & the USSR. Approximately 50 
shorts screened. Format: 16mm & 35mm, video- 
cassettes accepted. First-time-ever competition for 
award certificates; adult & children's jury. Contact 
South Australia Council for Children's Films & TV, 
54 Barton Terr., North Adelaide, South Australia, 
5006; tel. 08-267-5722. 

• CRACOW FESTIVAL OF SHORT FILMS, May 
27- June 1, Poland. 23rd annual international com- 
petition for films up to 30 min. in all genres "in par- 
ticular films which, in their human, social & artistic 
aspects, reveal the changes, trends & achievements of 
the 20th century." Documentary, "popular science," 
animated & experimental films welcome. Films must 
have been completed between Jan. 1985 & March 
1986 & not have been awarded prizes at other interna- 
tional competitions. These films may be entered out 
of competition. About 80 critics & journalists from 
around the world attend. All films selected receive 
certificates of participation. Golden, Silver & Bronze 
Dragons awarded as well as cash prizes not conver- 
table to other currencies. Filmmakers given accom- 
modations and other stipends. 

In response to statements in The Independent sug- 
gesting an anti-U.S. bias in the event, deputy director 
Jerzy Skrzeszowski replied, "If you look at the the 
prize-winning list of films, you will see something 
contrary to that statement. [U.S. films have won 
awards in 9 of the last 17 years.] You can be sure that 
it is not due to any kind of discrimination that 
American films are not showcased in Cracow. It is 
because they cannot withstand the competition with 
other films from all over the world. Very many 
American shorts viewed by the festival Selection 
Committee represent low artistic and professional 
levels — they are mostly made by amateurs. We 
welcome your initiative to boost the presence of in- 
dividual U.S. productions . . . There is room for good 
American shorts at our festival & we are open to your 
positive approach." Max. running time 30 min. For- 
mats: 16mm & 35mm. VHS & Vt " OK for preview. 
Deadline for forms: April 1. Contact the Manage- 
ment Office of the Cracow International Festival of 
Short Films, PI. Zwyciestwa 9, Box 127, 00-950 War- 
saw, Poland. 

• FILMS AND VIDEOS ON ART, May 14-17, 
Rotterdam. This first-time event will feature a survey 
of films & videos, produced in the last 4 years, that 
would be of interest "to those concerned with visual 
arts education, broadcasting companies & public in- 
terested in the visual arts & film. Films on Art ex- 
plicitly intends to promote the production, use & cir- 
culation of the programs & to establish contacts be- 
tween producers, distributors & users." A selection 
committee will review submissions for inclusion in 
the final program, half of which is reserved for films 
& tapes from the U.S. Forms (avail, at FIVF) must 
accompany entries. Formats: 16mm, Vt ", Beta & 
VHS. No fee. Works selected will be returned 
prepaid. Contact Albert Roskan, Jeroen Chabot, 
Stichting Films on Art, Postbus 549, 3000 AM Rotter- 
dam, The Netherlands. 

• LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, Aug . , Switzerland . Over 50,000 people attend- 
ed last year's 38th event, considered among the major 
European competitions for international feature 
films. While many competing films were world or 
European premieres, this is not a requirement for 
Locarno, as it may be for Cannes, Venice or Berlin. 
But Locarno screens only the most popular interna- 
tional film festival winners, making it relatively ex- 
clusive. Director David Streiff selected Rob Nilsson's 
MARCH 1986 




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THE INDEPENDENT 33 



Signal 7 (winner, Youth prize and honorable men- 
tion), Eric Mitchell's The Way It Is &. Donna Deitch's 
Desert Hearts (winner best actress, Helen Shaver) for 
competition last year while Desperately Seeking 
Susan, Mask & Mishima were invited to participate 
out of competition in the "open air" evening screen- 
ings that attract the largest crowds. Gold & Silver 
Leopards were awarded to Swiss and Chinese films 
respectively. Retrospectives & special programs 
round out the event. Jury member Edith Kramer of 
the Pacific Film Archive said she left Locarno feeling 
that she had "attended a wonderful film seminar." 
Competition films were well attended, retrospectives 
less so. According to Variety, which covers the event 
along with 1,200 to 1,500 industry professionals & 
journalists, Straffs plans for 1986 incl. a retrospec- 
tive of Japanese director Kenosuke Kinoshita & an 
Italian retrospective dedicated to author Enio 
Flaiano. Formats: 16mm & 35mm. Min. running 
time 60 min. Deadline: May. For forms contact 
Festival Internazionale del Film Locarno, Caselle 
postale, CH-6600 Locarno Switzerland; tel. 093/31 
02 32; telex 846147. 

• MELBOURNE FILM FESTIVAL, June, 
Australia. New director Paul Coulter scored high 
marks for reorganizing the 34th Melbourne event, 
the future of which was in great doubt after a finan- 
cial crisis. Festival is held in 2-screen theater w/ halls 
seating 920 & 640 respectively & a separate 230-seat 
theater at the State Film Centre, a government agen- 
cy known to purchase films after the festival. In a 
field of 65 features & 70 shorts, U.S. films incl. Blood 
Simple, Repo Man, Heart Like a Wheel & Birdy. 
Shorts under 60 min. compete for prizes incl. the 
$4,000 City of Melbourne award. In addition, about 
Vi of films screened at Sydney are invited to 
Melbourne which immediately follows. Programmer 
Don Ranvaud organizes an "alternatives" section for 



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the off-beat. According to Variety, press coverage is 
extensive & distributors & buyers support the festival 
by attending & premiering films there. For informa- 
tion regarding selection, particularly for the short 
film competition, contact Paul Coulter, Dir., 
Melbourne Film Festival, Box 2760 EE, Melbourne 
3001 Australia. Office address: 47 Little Latrobe St., 
2nd fl., Melbourne; tel. 03-663-1395. 

• MONTREAL NOUVEAU INTERNATIONAL 
FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, Oct. 16-26, 
Canada. Although the deadline for submissions is 
months away (films are entered from festivals like 
Venice & Cannes during the spring & summer) direc- 
tor Claude Chamberlan will be in NYC in March to 
see U.S. films. Last year this event programmed the 
U.S. features Before Stonewall, Crossover Dreams, 
Docu Drama, Einstein on the Beach, Rate ItX& Sur- 
vivors: The Blues Today among 40 international 
feature-length narratives & documentaries. The in- 
ternational shorts section screened only 4 films incl. 
the Squat Theater's Let Me Love You. In 1983, Mon- 
treal Nouveau expanded to incl. video w/ an interna- 
tional selection of 289 works plus a 5-tape Dan 
Reeves retrospective. A special video section incl. 
Howard Brookner's 80-min. portrait of Robert 
Wilson, Jean-Luc Godard & Anne Marie Mieville's 
French TV productions & a feature-length work by 
Brian Eno. Fee: $20. A separate market is held in 
conjunction with the festival. Contact Festival Int. 
du nouveau cinema et de la video de Montreal, 3724 
Blvd. St. Laurent, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2V 
2V8; tel. (514) 843-4725; telex 5560074 Cinequebec 
a/s Filmfest. 

• TRENTO INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF 
MOUNTAIN AND EXPLORA TION FILMS AND 
VIDEOS, April 27-May 3, Italy. For nature lovers 
everywhere since 1952. This is a competition for 



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works about mountains — incl. but not limited to 
mountaineering, ecology, legends — exploration, i.e. 
little known places; or physical, anthropological or 
naturalistic aspects of the earth. All participants 
receive certificate. No promotional films. Formats: 
I6mm & 35mm. } A " tape judged separately. Final 
deadline for receipt of work: March 20. Applications 
avail, at AIVF. Fest address: Via Verdi 30-38100 
Trento, Italy. Ship films to Festival Internazionale 
Film della Montagne e dell'Esplorazione, c/o Ala 
Transports, Via A de Recante, 4-12024 Milano. 

• ZAGREB INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED 
FILM FESTIVAL, June 23-27, Yugoslavia. East 
meets West for this premiere fest. European, 
American, third world & other nations gather bian- 
nually in an energetic & congenial atmosphere for 
recognition of animation. In 1984, 12 prizes were 
awarded on the judgement of an int'l jury, incl. the 
Grand Prix to Jumping, by Osamu Tezuka (Japan) & 
the Special Award for Graphic Art to The Roar from 
Within, by Flip Johnson, (U.S.). About 20 American 
entries were picked up by Zagreb TV. Animarket '86 
runs concurrently with the festival. Charles Samu, 
HBO's director of acquisitions, is once again sending 
a group shipment of U.S. films to the fest. In the fall 
of 1984, a Best of Fest tour was organized & shown in 
NYC & Montreal for 2 months; this will be repeated 
in 1986. Charles Samu must receive films by March 1 
to meet Zagreb's deadline of March 15. No fee, but 
filmmaker pays transit costs. Filmmakers can get 
forms from Charles Samu at 1318 Fulton St., 
Rahway, NJ 07065; (212) 484-1338. To contact 
Zagreb directly, write 7th World Festival of 
Animated Films, Nova Ves 18, 4100 Zagreb, Yugo- 
slavia, attn: Jura Saban, Organizing Director; tel: 
041/276-636, 271-355. 



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MARCH 1986 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 





Art and murder In the East Vil- 
lage, from Eric Mitchell's "The 
Way It Is." 

Courtesy filmmaker 



Andrea Estepa 



In Made in China, Lisa Hsia uses a combination 
of documentary footage, home movies, and ani- 
mated sequences, by Michael Sporn, to reflect 
upon her cultural identity as a Chinese- 
American — spanning a childhood spent watching 
American Bandstand and visiting Disneyland to a 
year of living with relatives in the People's 
Republic of China. The 30-minute color film will 
be screened at the American Museum of the Mov- 
ing Image in Astoria, New York, on March 7 and 
is being considered for broadcast by several cable 
companies. Made in China: Lisa Hsia, 57 E. 95th 
St., #9, New York, NY 10128; (212) 221-6310 or 
(212) 860-2333. 

Filmmaker Karen Holmes's latest project, 
Returning the Shadow, presents a personal film 
of a very different kind. The 22-minute ex- 
perimental narrative explores the ambiguity of 
the past and of memory through an examination 
of five photographs. To create a body of visual 
information about the people in the photo, 
Holmes isolates specific background elements in 
the shots and, in a series of free associations, 
turns them into other images (for example, a 
crumpled quilt on a bed is replaced by rippling 
water). Shadow is Holmes's first work in color. 
Returning the Shadow: Karen Holmes, Hunter's 
Point Shipyard, Bldg. 274, Box 77, San Fran- 
cisco, CA 94124; (415) 469-1700. 

Force of Circumstance, a 93-minute narrative 
by Liza Bear, is a tale of personal and political in- 



trigues developed against the backdrop of 
U.S.-third world relations. The film follows the 
parallel stories of four central chararacters: 
Blanchette, the sister of a Moroccan political 
prisoner, who travels to Washington, D.C., in 
the hope of increasing American awareness re- 
garding the political crisis in her country; the En- 
voy of the King of Morocco, who has been asked 
to arrange the purchase of an eighteenth-century 
mansion; Hans, the mansion's owner, who can't 
decide whether to part with his ancestral home; 
and Katrina, a journalist who is personally link- 
ed to Hans, but professionally connected to 
Blanchette and the Envoy, as she struggles to 
break through the media's silence on the under- 
side of the Moroccan monarch's regime. The 
film was shot in super 16, and Bear is currently 
seeking finishing funds to enable her to blow it 
up to 35mm. Force of Circumstance: Liza Bear, 
271 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10012; (212) 
431-7191. 

Another recent independent feature shot in 
super 16 and blown up to 35mm is Eric Mitchell's 
The Way It Is, an 80-minute black and white nar- 
rative that opened to rave reviews in Paris last 
year. The film tells the story of a group of actors 
in New York's East Village that is rehearsing a 
production of Cocteau's Orpheus. Life imitates 
art when the lead actress, Eurydice, is found 
dead and her fellow cast members pause to re- 
flect upon their relationships with her and to 
recall events that led up to what might be a 
murder. In addition to super 16 format, Force of 
Circumstance and The Way It Is share a number 
of supporting cast members including the 



ubiquitous Rockets Redglare. The Way It Is: 
Spring Films, Inc., 875 Avenue of the Americas, 
#2204, New York, NY 10001; (212) 967-8151. 

The relationship of religious faith to social 
responsibility is the subject of God and Money, a 
57-minute video documentary by Seattle-based 
producers John de Graaf and Bette Jean Bullert. 
Funded by the Corporation for Public Broad- 
casting, the tape examines the U.S. Catholic 
bishops' pastoral letter on the economy, which 
was released as a draft in the winter of 1984. In it, 
the bishops called the degree of poverty in the 
U.S. today "a moral scandal" and included a 
recommendation that the government make a 
commitment to full employment. God and 
Money crosscuts debates about the pastoral let- 
ter with an examination of the anti-poverty pro- 
grams that receive funding from the Catholic 
Church through its Campaign for Human De- 
velopment. The tape also includes the comments 
of the leader of the letter's drafting committee 
and several conservative critics of the letter's 
message. God and Money: California Newsreel, 
630 Natoma St., San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 
621-6196. 

Victoria Larimore and Michael Taylor spent 
much of 1985 traveling across the U.S. to appear 
at screening/discussion programs with their 
hour-long documentary The Amish: Not To Be 
Modern. The 16mm film, shot in Holmes Coun- 
ty, Ohio, is the first film to be made with the 
cooperation of the Amish (who generally don't 
permit photography because of their interpreta- 
tion of the biblical commandment against mak- 
ing graven images). Larimore and Taylor found 



MARCH 1986 



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that by touring with the film they were able to 
reach large audiences and generate a lot of 
publicity (over 10,000 have attended screenings, 
and the film was written up in two national 
Associated Press stories). The Amish is also go- 
ing out over the TV airwaves: an excerpt was in- 
cluded in an episode of National Geographic'*, 
Explorer series, and it will be broadcast national- 
ly in its entirety by PBS sometime in 1986. The 
Amish: Not To Be Modern: Filmmakers 
Library, 133 E. 58th St., New York, NY 10022; 
(212) 355-6545. 

A long overlooked moment in American his- 
tory is documented in Stephen Brier's 1877: The 
Grand Army of Starvation. The 30-minute film 
is a study of two weeks in 1877 when 80,000 
railroad workers went on strike and received the 
support of hundreds of thousands of other 
Americans, who joined them in protest against 
the excesses of the giant railroad companies. The 
film's visual component is built on a series of 
tinted and animated period graphics. These seg- 
ments are supplemented with on-camera and 
voiceover performances and narration by James 
Earl Jones. 7577 was produced under the 
auspices of the American Social History Project 
of the City University of New York and is the 
first in a projected series of programs about 
the U.S. working class. It was shown at the 
1985 Leipzig International Film Festival and the 
Chicago International Film Festival. 1877: The 
Grand Army of Starvation: American Social 
History Project, CUNY Graduate Center, 33 W. 
42nd St., New York, NY 10036; (212) 944-8695. 

After four years of working as a film editor 
and photo researcher, Wendy Zheutlin has com- 
pleted her first stint as a producer/director. Her 
51 -minute documentary Portraits of Anorexia 
tells the stories of seven anorexics, outlining the 
causes of the disorder, including troubled family 
life, low self-esteem, and society's pressure to ap- 
pear thin as a sign of success. Portraits also 
depicts the slow, painful road to recovery that 



anorexics face. The film, which received 80 per- 
cent of its funding from individual donors, 
premiered at the Herbst Theater in San Fran- 
cisco in February and then moved to the York 
Theater, also in San Francisco, for a theatrical 
run. It will be broadcast nationally on PBS later 
this year. Portraits of Anorexia: Churchill Films, 
662 N. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 
90069-9990; (213) 657-5110. 

The latest release by producer Gary Krane is 
Preventing Nuclear War: The First Essential 
Step. Made for television broadcast and hosted 
by Paul Newman, First Step addresses the issue 
of the Comprehensive Test Ban, considered by 
many experts to be the most practical and 
verifiable means to halt the development of new 
U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons. The program 
includes testimony from former Atomic Energy 
Commission chair Glenn Seaborg, Admiral 
Gene LaRocque of the Center for Defense Infor- 
mation, Merrill Lynch chief executive officer 
Kenneth Miller, and several members of Con- 
gress, both Republican and Democratic. Krane's 
previous production US v. USSR won a Blue 
Ribbon at the 1984 American Film Festival. First 
Step: Ideal Communications, Box 76600, Wash- 
ington, D.C. 20013; (202) 543-7777. 

Lisa Crafts has completed Shout !, a 60-second 
animated public service announcement, spon- 
sored by the Communicators, a nonprofit 
organization of media professionals committed 
to eliminating the possibility of nuclear war. Two 
world leaders threatening each other with nu- 
clear annihilation are transformed into Godzilla- 
like monsters intent on destroying civilization. 
The passionate responses of ordinary people (in 
10 languages) bring about an end to the conflict. 
Shout! is being loaned free of charge to cable and 
broadcast stations; it is also available for pur- 
chase or rental on VHS or 16mm. Shout!: Lisa 
Crafts Animation, 12 Harrison St., New York, 
NY 10013; (212) 431-5152. 



SUMMARY OF MINUTES 
OF AIVF BOARD MEETING 



The AIVF/FIVF Board of Directors met on 
December 6, 1985, at the offices of the New 
World Foundation in New York City. Commit- 
tees met in the morning, followed by the full 
board meeting and committee reports. 

Executive director Lawrence Sapadin report- 
ed on the conference of the National Alliance of 
Media Arts Centers in September, his election as 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



president of the Media Alliance, and on a recent 
meeting of the National Coalition of Independent 
Public Broadcasting producers in Washington, 
D.C. 

Computerization of AIVF and FIVF's books 
is complete. Membership revenues met our pro- 
jection of $90,000 for the 1984-1985 fiscal year. 

In regard to planning for the 1986 Indie 
MARCH 1986 



Awards, development director Mary Guzzy re- 
ported that she had had several meetings with 
potential industry contributors and that an in- 
vitation committee is largely in place. 

Membership director Andrea Estepa reported 
on a successful mailing to former AIVF members 
and a meeting of the Membership committee (see 
below). 

Editor Martha Gever reported that The In- 
dependent will begin to be distributed commer- 
cially in the Midwest by a regional distributor as 
well as by our national distributor. The new 
"Classifieds" section begins in the March issue. 
We are looking for an advertising representative 
for the West Coast. 

Festival Bureau director Robert Aaronson 
reported on our liaison work with the Turino In- 
ternational Festival, a recent agreement to work 
with the Florence Dei Popoli Documentary Fes- 
tival, and current screenings by the International 
Women's Festival (France) at AIVF's offices. In 
January, the Oberhausen Film Festival will also 
be screening work at AIVF, followed by Rod 
Webb of the Sydney Film Festival in March. 

Program director Charlayne Haynes re- 
viewed AIVF's recent seminar on documentary 
film and video done in conjunction with Docu- 
mentary Film Week, as well as plans for up- 
coming programs. 

The board adopted the Development commit- 
tee's recommendation that a nominating com- 
mittee be formed to establish procedures for the 
review and appointment of additional FIVF 
board members. 

The Membership committee recommended 
that the board undertake a stepped-up 
marketing effort to create AIVF joint member- 
ships with regional or local independent pro- 
ducer organizations. Also, AIVF will send 
targeted mailings to minority media producers 
and organizations and will renew efforts to in- 
crease student and faculty memberships. 

The Ad Hoc Mission Statement committee 
presented its draft to the board which was adopt- 
ed with minor revision. The statement is printed 
on the "Memoranda" page of this issue. 

In regard to new business, the board adopted 
a resolution by which AIVF/FIVF would in- 
demnify board members for the cost of litigation 
arising out of lawful, good faith board actions. It 
also selected its Special Board Award recipient 
(to be announced), subject to a firm commitment 
to attend the 1986 Indie Awards evening. A draft 
of the Screen Actors Guild contract for very low- 
budget independent productions intended for 
noncommercial exhibition was reviewed. Final- 
ly, the board discussed a request for proposals 
from the Media Program of the New York State 
Council on the Arts seeking to encourage minori- 
ty video and audio proposals and productions. 

The next AIVF/FIVF board meeting is sche- 
duled for Friday, March 14, 1986. For more infor- 
mation, call (212) 473-3400. 

MARCH 1986 



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The Independenfs Classifieds column in- 
cludes all listings for the "Buy • Rent • Sell," 
"Freelancers," and "Postproduction" cate- 
gories. It is restricted to members only. Each 
entry has a 2 SO word limit and costs §15 
per issue. Payment must be made at time of 
submission. Anyone wishing to run a classified 
more than once must pay for each insertion 
and indicate the number of insertions on the 
submitted copy. Each classified must be 
typed, double-spaced, and worded exactly 
as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be respected. 
These are the 8th of each month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., March 8 for May 
issue. Make check or money order-no 
cash, please-payable to FIVF and send to 
Independent Classifieds, FIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 



Buy •Rent •Sell 



• FOR SALE: Eclair NPR w/ Alsa Crystal $6,950; 
MP30 35mm Projector $3,100; Aaton Mags $1,400; 
25-250 Ang $4,100; 16BL Mags $445; ARRI SB, 2 
Mags, primes, VS Motor $3,300; Eclair Orient V.F. 
$1,200; CP GSMO, 2-New Mags, Batts, Chgr. 
$7,400; Cooke 18 T2 ARRI Std. Mt. $800. Eclair 
NPR, Mags $900; New Sachtler 7 + 7 Pan $3,000; 
ARRI 2B, 2-400 ' Mags, VS Motor $3,800. Call (201) 
659-4430, Crosscountry Film/ Video. 

• FOR SALE: Arriflex 16BL with 12-120 Angeni- 
eux, 600mm Tele-Athenar (brand new), 2 400 ' mags, 
battery belt, NCE jr. head. Great Deal. Must sell. 
$4,800 or best offer. Call (718) 462-6468 evening and 
weekends. 

• R.G. VIDEO: Affiliated with Ross-Gaff ney, Inc. 
Broadcast Standard 3 A " production & computerized 
post-production in English, Japanese, Chinese, 
Spanish or French. Off-hours discount for in- 
dependents, free-lancers. "Global Vision! Qu'est-ce 
Que C'est?" 21 W. 46th St., New York, NY 10036 
(212) 719-2744. 

• FOR SALE: '82 Ford Econoline E-350 stretch 
van. V-8, 22,000 miles, Vi ton lift gate. Many extras, 
$8,600.00 John (201) 783-7360. 

• FOR SALE: New Sony 8MM Video / Digital 
Audio Deck. EVS700U. Never used, factory war- 
rantee. Cost $1,500, will sell for $995 or best offer. 
David Miles (212) 724-7473. Leave message. 

• FOR RENT: HL79EAL with Betacam recorder 
and playback. Lites, audio, car, insur., crew as need- 
ed. ¥> " and 1 " available. Multicamera setups. TC 
dubs . Location audio playback for music video . Also 
Aaton 16mm rig w/stereo Nagra w/Timecode. Call 
Soho Video, (212) 473-6947. 

• FOR RENT: Professional tungsten lighting 
package with grip equipment and cable. Available 
for 5 week or longer rental periods. Very low prices. 
John (201) 783-7360. 



38 THE INDEPENDENT 



• FOR RENT: Complete 16mm Film Production 
Facilities. Approximately 1,400 sq. ft. space in con- 
venient downtown TfiBeCa location. Incl. screen- 
ing/mtg. room (cap. 50 people) w/ B&H 16mm pro- 
jector in booth & Altec speaker; small & large editing 
room equipped w/ 8-plate model ST928 Steenbeck & 
Steenbeck power rewind table & all accessories; 
sound transfer dubber & crystal Nagra III; small 
darkroom w/hot & cold runing water; office & recep- 
tion area; Vi bathroom; file cabinets/shelving; 
private entrance from street; 24-hr. access. Available 
starting mid- January 1986. Rent $l,250/mo. Con 
Ed & phone. Prefer minimum 1 yr. tenant. Contact 
Amalie Rothschild, (212) 925-1500, after Jan. 15. 

• NATURE-WILDLIFE STOCK FOOTAGE, 

white-tailed deer, fawns, song birds, owls, hawks, 
geese, butterflies, moon streams, snow scenes, wild- 
flowers, and more. No search fee. Call for specific 
needs and details. Reasonable rates. Award- winning 
cinematographer also available for assignments. 
(914) 876-3669. 

• BETACAM, SONY PROJECTION SYSTEM, 
MONITORS, DECKS AND MORE— Greatly re- 
duced rates to independent artists and non-profits 
through the ON-LINE program at Technisphere, 
Inc. Contact: Media Alliance, c/o WNET, 356 West 
58th Street, NYC 10019, (212) 560-2919. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate 16mm Moviola Flatbed M-77. 
Excellent condition in Ohio, $6,000. Lease and rental 
offers may be considered. Call Will at (513) 325-1055. 

• WANTED: Canon Scoopic, prefer w/ crystal and 
400 ' adaptor. Karen, (212) 873-6531, NYC. 

• SMALL OFFICE SPACE available in NYC. 
Close to all the trade labs, supply houses, etc., mid- 
town location. Active film organization w/screening 
facilities for film & video incl. tri-standard Vt" 
deck/monitor. 300 sq. ft. Looking for compatible ar- 
tist. $14/sq. ft. Call (212) 947-9277, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Audio equipment. Biamp 1283 12 in- 
out stereo out audio mixing console w/ internal 
rever-se, $600. Sony TCM 5000 EV portable profes- 
sional mono cassette recorder. Good for field inter- 
views, etc. $150. Call Phil Cibley, (212) 986-2219, 
NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Bolex Rex-5 w/ 3 Swiss prime lens, 
will accept animation & synch motors & accepts 400 ' 
mags. Hardly used, like new. $900 (neg.). Richard 
(212) 569-7877, NYC. 

• FOR RENT OR SALE: 35BL w/ superspeed 
lenses, Sachtler head, 1000' magazines. Rental can 
be applied toward purchase. Also for rent: (212) 
929-7728, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: JVC KY-2700A 3-tube color camera 
w/Fujinon 14-1 lens. In excellent condition. Very lit- 
tle use. $4,000 or best offer. Incl. travel case. Call 
Geoff, (212) 254-2852, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: NPR package, body, 3 mags, 
Beaulieu motor, 12-120, 20-240 Ang. lenses, filters, 
cases, accessories. Excellent maintenance. Best offer, 
contact Marek, (212) 645-2057, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Cinemonta 6-plate flatbed. Perfect. 
$13,500. Uher 4200, Bolex H-8 Double super 8, Ni- 
kon 200mm, Precision 3-, 4-gang synchronizers, Ni- 
zo s-800 barney 2-Mitchell 16mm 400' mags— best 
offer. Mr. Clifford, (415) 444-3074, CA. 

MARCH 1986 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



• Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

• The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

■ Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 
1 Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

Professional seminars and screenings 

Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 




There's strength in numbers. 



J 



oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

□ (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



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Country (if outside US)_ 
Telephone 



Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 



• FOR SALE: Editing equipment. Steenbeck 
(16mm, 6-plate) and Universal Kem (16/35mm, 
8-plate, 2 pix). Reasonably priced. (212) 924-0400, 
NYC. 

• FOR RENT: 35BL II, 16 SR, Zeiss superspeed 
lenses, Nagra recorder, 16mm 6-plate editing table. 
Film Friends, 16 E. 17th St., NYC, (212) 620-0084. 

• FOR SALE: ECLAIR ACL w/ Cinema Products 
Crystal & var. speed motor, three 200ft. mags, 
12-75mm Ang. T2.2, three batteries, power cable, 
case. Best offer over $1,500. Call (718) 236-0153 eves. 

• FOR SALE: Moviola Jr. M-79 editor. 1 pic, 3 snd. 
24 fps "Poor man's Steenbeck," $750. Peter Wallach 
Films, (314)725-8952, MO. 

• FOR SALE: Editing equipment. Steenbeck 
(16tmm, 6-plate) and Universal Kem (16/35mm, 
8-plate, 2 pix). Reasonably priced. (212) 924-0400, 
NYC. 

• FOR RENT: Complete Betacam system, plus 
lighting and stereo Nagra timecode sound equip- 
ment. Call collect (803) 538-2709, SC. 

• FOR SALE: >A " video deck. JVC 5000, player w/ 
rf, $250 or best offer. Wendy, (718) 624-3506, NYC. 

• FOR SALE: Nagra 4.2L w/crystal, QPAUT, 
QGX,QSLI,ATN.Sennheiser816Tw/shockmount 
& foam windscreen. (3) ECM-50PS mics. Shure 
M-67 mixer, cables & aces. Excellent condition, 
$5,000. (312)664-6482, IL. 

• FOR RENT IN NICARAGUA: Sony M-3 
camera, 4800 deck, monitor, tripod, mics, lighting, 
reasonable rates for equip. & cameraperson; crew as 
needed. Contact Martha Wallner in New York (212) 
260-6565 or Gabrielle Baur in Managua, Nicaragua, 
60169. 

• FOR SALE: Nagra III, crystal sync, leather case, 
cover adapted for 7- Vi " reels. Good mechanical con- 
dition, $1,000. (718) 256-3012, NYC. 



Freelancers 



• COMPLETE J6MM PRODUCTIONS 
AVAILABLE: Take ideas from start to finish. Ar- 
riflex, Nagra, Vi " video editing. High quality, low 
rates. Animation available. Cine-Image, (609) 
881-6612, NJ. 

• QUANTEL PAINTBOX: Top-of-the-line, user 
friendly graphics computer is available to artists at 
very reduced rates on stand-by basis. Fee includes 
operator &/or instruction. Also rehearsal & per- 
formances documented on high quality Vi ". $35. Jill, 
(212)929-7434, NYC. 

• PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Experience w/ 
commercial shoots, video sale to the public, Vi " 
video camera. Certified Mobil laser operator. Back- 
ground in still nature & wildlife photography. 
Driver's license. Willing to work on documentaries or 
features for reasonable pay. Willing to travel. Bar- 
bara, (516) 829-9829, NY. 

• PRODUCTIONS IN WASHINGTON, DC: Pro- 
ducer/director & local Emmy-winning editor team 
up w/ researcher/writer to form Blandburg Produc- 
tions, Inc. Tighten your budget, we'll manage your 
production in DC. We offer full production crew & 
individual skills. Vic Blandburg, Blandburg Produc- 

MARCH 1986 



tions, Inc., Box 2254 , Merrifield, VA 22116; (703) 
849-8599. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER/LIGHTING CAM- 
ERAMAN: 15BL & 16 SR, super speed primes & 
zoom lenses. Reasonable rates, Vini, Film Friends, 
(212) 620-0084, NYC. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER: Chicago/Midwest location, 
w/ Sony M3 camera & broadcast gear. Available to 
shoot news, commercial, theater/dance, locations. 
Complete ENG pkg. & crew as needed. Demo reel 
avail. Bob Hercules, (312) 772-0718, IL. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER: Production for cost-cutters. 
Industrial equip. Lights, 2 cameras, van, assemble 
edits. $120/day, NY, PA, MD & DE. Greg Savoy, 
(302) 478-8024, DE. 

• TRANSCRIPTION SER VICES are the only thing 
we do. Transfers, dialogue, script, public relations. 
Soundvisions, Box 2055, River Grove, IL 60171; 
(312)453-1829. 

• DIRECTOR/PRODUCER ASSISTANT: Ex- 
cellent qualifications in writing, research, corres- 
pondence, typing & all aspects of office procedure. 
Film & art background. Reliable, highly organized, 
seeking 10-12 hrs/wk. References. (212) 226-0847, 
NYC. 

• FILM EDITOR: Looking for work on features, 
documentaries, etc. 25 yrs. exp. Own 6-plate Steen- 
beck, work at my place or yours. Bob Macho ver, 
(212) 677-1401, NYC. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/Sony M3 camera & broad- 
cast gear. Avail to shoot news, documentary, dance, 
etc. Full ENG pkg. & crew as needed, commercial 
vehicle. Neg. rates. L. Goodsmith, (212) 989-8157, 

NYC. 

• KEY LIGHT PRODUCTIONS provides com- 
plete production services from project development 
& shooting through editing. Social service media our 
specialty. Full support staff w/ field producer, 
writers, researchers, PAs, crew as needed. Broadcast 
equipment; rates neg. Contract Beth, (212) 581-9748 
or Lauren, (212) 989-8157, NYC. 

• CAMERA OPERATOR w/complete 16mm & 
35mm pkgs., will work on your feature, documen- 
tary, music video or commercial. Contact Marek 
Albrecht, (212) 645-2057, NYC. 

• SCRIPT SUPER VISOR/CONTINUITY for dra- 
matic features. Kerry Kirkpatrick, (212) 879-5241, 
NYC. 

• EXPERIENCED PHOTO RESEARCHER w/ 
unusual sources, int'l contacts & archival experience 
seeks research assignments. Call Renee Green, (201) 
420-8229, NJ. 

• VIDEO PRODUCTION: Ikegami camera w/ 
operator avail. Cable television air time avail, from 
producer/director. I will work w/ you or for you. No 
reasonable budget too small. Call P.G. Alland, (212) 
420-0953, NYC. 

• FILM TITLES SERVICES: Camera-ready art 
&/or shooting of titles. Many typefaces, design con- 
sultation, crawls. Reasonable rates, fast service. (212) 
460-8921, NYC. 

• QUALIFIED RESEARCHER: W/ extensive ar- 
chival & practical experience in period dress & allied 
decorative arts seeks film research or administrative 
work. Avail, immediately, can travel. Call Mark 
Wallis, (302) 454-8637, DE. 

• HISTORICAL PRODUCTION STYLIST/CON- 
SULTANT, Research and Script Review, Movement 




MYPHEDUH 

FILMS, INC. 




Distributors of films 
made by African 
& African American 
filmmakers 



dramatic and documentary films that 
reflect the full spectrum of life 
experiences within the Black diaspora 

For more information, rental and sales: 

MYPHEDUH FILMS, INC. 

48 Q Street, N.E. 
Washington, D.C. 20002 
(202) 529-0220 



THE INDEPENDENT 



39 



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and Performance Coaching. Experienced Producer/ 
Choreographer. Cultural Historian (Ph.D.), and 
Museum Curator. Granada History Productions, 
(703) 841-0044, or 1336 North Ode Street, Suite #9, 
Arlington, VA 22209. 

• CAMERMAN & SOUNDMAN: Aaton XTR & 
Nagra 4.2 with Aaton timecode base (SMPTE or 
Aaton cleartime coding available). Save time and 
money in post-production with our state of the art 
equipment. Prefer documentary work. (212) 
532-2031 ask for Mark or Bram. 

• PRODUCTION MANAGER/DIRECTOR/ 
EDITOR with 15 years documentary experience 
seeking work on dramatic feature project. Excellent 
resume, production skills — Salary negotiable. Amer- 
tat Cohn, (914) 425-6095. 

• PRODUCTION HELP: Available afternoon, 
evenings, weekends for work in film/video produc- 
tions. Inexpensive, energetic, responsible service in 
exchange for more experience & contacts. Please call 
Otie Brown, (212) 645-0619 or 685-5000. 

• ASST. DIRECTOR/ EXP. ON 25 FEATURES. 

No matter how big or small the budget, a well- 
organized & realistic shooting schedule are essential. 
Cast & crew referrals, too. Fluent French, some 
Italian & Spansh. Will travel. Campbell, (212) 
926-1089. 

• FILM EDITOR available for low budget and in- 
dependent films and videos. Reasonable rates. (212) 
242-2400 xl610 or 989-1986 (messages). 

• NICARAGUA VIDEO/FILM: Seeking 
video/film project in Nicaragua. Have Sony VO6800 
3 /i inch video recorder, JVC GX700U camera. Or 
seeking crew work. Grip, sound, etc. In Nicaragua til 
8/86. Jeff Hart, Hospedaje San Juan, Reparto San 
Juan No. 560, Managua, Nicaragua. Tel. #01 1- 
505-2-72638. 

• CINEMATOGRAPHER w/ Aaton 16mm 
camera, lights & van, always looking for interesting 
projects. Very experienced in docs, drama, foreign 
travel. I would love to shoot 1986's cult classic! Let's 
talk specifics. Ned Miller, (312) 433-3031, Chicago. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER/ EX-DANCER consultation 
and production services for dancers. Low-budget 
broadcast production pkg. including DXC M3 
camera: Vi " documentation of rehearsals, 3 A " 
editing $20/hr., dubbing $12/Hr. Penny 
Ward/Video (212) 228-1427, NYC. 

• EXPERIENCED FILM SOUNDMAN: Will 
work on your feature or documentary. Recordist, 
boom, or playback. Excellent equipment available. 
Doug Tourtelot, (212) 489-0232. 

• COMING OUT WEST? NY indies planning to 
shoot in Northern California or the San Francisco 
Bay Area can save time & money by contacting AIVF 
member Karil Daniels to coordinate the most ef- 
fective, least expensive shoot possible. Over 10 years 
experience working in/ with the SF indie film & video 
community. Contacts to quality freelance crew mem- 
bers, locations, equipment, services & services & sup- 
plies, at best rates. Contact Karil Daniels, Point of 
View Prods., 2477 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 
94110,(415)821-0435. 



Postproduction 



• BOB BRODSKYAND TONI TREAD WA Y Super 
8 and 8mm film-to-video mastering with scene-by- 
scene corrections to V* ", 1 " and high speed compo- 
nent. By appointment only. Call (617) 666-3372. 

• 3 A EDITING/ POSTPRODUCTION: Left & in- 
dependent documentaries our first love. Sony 5859 
system, SMPTE time code, Microgren character 
generator, full sound mix, Ikegami & JVC cameras, 
Sony BVU & 4800 decks. Post is $40/hr. w/editor. 
10% discount to AIVF members. Debbie or David, 
29th Street Video, (212) 594-7530, NYC. 

• FILM TITLE SERVICES: Camera-ready art 
&/or shooting of titles. Many typefaces, design con- 
sultation, crawls. Reasonable rates, fast service. (212) 
460-8921, NYC. 

• NEG MATCHING: 16mm, 35mm. Clean, ac- 
curate, Andre, Coda Film, (212) 581-0748, NYC. 

• QUALITY EDITING ROOM FOR LESS: V* " & 
VHS to-Vi " w/ Convergence Super 90, Tapehan- 
dlers, Adda TBS, fades time-code reader-generator 
overdubs. New equip., comfortable & friendly en- 
vironment. Lincoln Center area. $20/hr. w/out 
editor during business hrs. for AIVF members 
editing non-commercial projects. Also avail, ex- 
perienced editors, scripting, Chyron. Hank Dol- 
match TV Enterprises, (212) 874-4524. 

• FOR RENT: BVU-800 edit rooms. Straight cuts, 
with Time Code; Window dubs. Char Gen. key cam- 
era, TBC, Proc. amp, Audio board, turntable, 
audio-cassette, Nagra. Dupes to & from VHS & 
Betacam. Self-service from $20/hour for artists, $25 
for commercial. Soho Video, (212) 473-6947. 

• OFF-LINE EDITING on JVC 8250 decks for 
$25/hr w/ editor. Penny Ward/Video, (212) 
228-1427, NYC. 

• ON-LINE: Interformat & 1-inch Editing. Digital 
Effects, Paint Box, Transfers and Complete Audio 
Services — at reduced rates for independents & non- 
profit organizations. Contact: Media Alliance, c/o 
WNET, 356 W. 58th St., NYC, NY 10019, (212) 
560-2919. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, super 16, 
35mm cut for regular printing, blowup, or video 
transfer. Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Wim 
Wenders, and Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at 
reasonable rates. One White Glove, Tim Brennan, 
(718) 897-4145, NYC. 

• SOUND TRANSFERS: 16/35mm, 24/25/30 fps., 
center or edge track, state of the art equipment. 
Evening and weekend service available, convenient 
downtown location. Discount to AIVF and NABET 
members and for grant funded projects. Billy 
Sarokin; (212) 255-8698. 

• MOVIOLA M-77 flatbeds for rent: 6-plate 
flatbeds for rent in your work space. Cheapest rates 
in NYC for independent filmmakers. Call: 
Philmaster Productions (212) 873-4470. 

• FOR SALE: 6-plate 16mm Moviola flatbed M-77. 
Excellent condition in Ohio. $6,000. Lease and rental 
offers may be considered. Call Will at (513) 325-1055. 

• FOR RENT: Moviola 4 & 6-plate flatbeds 
w/editors. Reasonable. Karen, (212) 873-6531, 
NYC. 

• FOR RENT: Eight-plate Steenbeck. Moderate 
prices by the month. Delivered to your workspace. 
Call Octavio, (718) 855-8366, NYC. 



• FOR RENT: 6-plate Steenbeck editing room. Fully 
equipped w/phone. Special rates for independents. 
(212)473-2033, NYC. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



MARCH 1986 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are in- 
cluded as space permits. The Independent 
reserves the right to edit for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be respected. 
These are the 8th of month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., March 8 for May 
issue. Send notices to Independent Notices, 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• MEET THE FILMMAKER: Series at Brooklyn 
College Institute for Retired Professionals & Interna- 
tional Center in NY (foreign gov. reps & others). 
Your presence, short films, & promotional literature 
will help popularize your creations. Contact Sol 
Rubin (charter member AIVF), Box 40, New York, 
NY 10038. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCER SEEKS FOOT- 
AGE relating to the NRA, Handgun Control, Inc., 
Second Amendment Foundation, or subjects related 
to death in the U.S. by handguns for documentary by 
filmmaker Gorman Bechard. Contact Generic Films, 
Inc., Box 2715, Waterbury, CT 06723; (203) 
756-3017. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCER SEEKS waitress 
interviews & related materials on Va ". Contact Rose 
Rosely, 353 College. S.E., Apt. 6, Grand Rapids, 
MI, 49503; (616) 451-9576. 

• MODERN TALKING PICTURE SERVICE 
seeks info on film & tapes suitable for captioning for 
the deaf. Works will be evaluated by review commit- 
tee & recommendations made to U.S. Dept. of 
Education for purchase by DOE. Educators, coun- 
selors, distributors & others interested in submitting 
titles for consideration should send 2 catalogues &/or 
written descriptions to Linda Stephan, Modern Talk- 
ing Picture Service, Captioning/Selection Div., 5000 
Park St., N., St. Petersburg, FL 33709; (813) 
545-8781. 

• WANTED: Home movie footage for documen- 
tary. 8mm/super 8/16mm. Rich* Borowy, Box 
14647, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 561-5740. 

• CINEMA VERITE SEEKS independent films, 
tapes, works-in-progress for programming. Enclose 
SASEw/ V* "tape to Cinema Veritelnt'l, Inc. 444 E. 
86th St., #21J, New York, NY 10028. 

• GREAT NORTHERN CABLE NETWORK is 
looking for programming from independent 
videomakers. Contact GNCN, 4020 21st Ave., Min- 
neapolis, MN 90401; (612) 394-2984. 

• VIDEO WOMEN, cable access series focusing on 
women, seeks films & videos to cablecast 4 to 10 times 
during a 2-wk period. Send publicity materials & 



compensation requirements to Video Women, c/o 
Access Video, 1150 Greenfield Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 
15217. 

• SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY 
(Cable 35) is now accepting works by independent 
video artists & filmmakers. V* " & 16mm considered. 
Selected works will be featured on a weekly program 
on Cable 35. For information, write Special Projects 
Cable 35, BCA Dept., San Francisco, CA 94132. 

• NIGHTFLIGHT seeks short tapes & films by 
students & young artists for "New Filmmakers" seg- 
ment on USA Cable. Those selected will receive 
$10/min. for use. Contact Carrie Franklin, ATI 
Video Ent., 888 7th Ave., New York, NY (212) 
977-2300. 

• CAMPUS NETWORK, a TV network that broad- 
casts exclusively to colleges & universities, is now ac- 
cepting 3 A " videos for programming. If accepted, 
producers will receive $17/min. for a 1-week exhibi- 
tion period. Contact Campus Network, c/o Steve 
Amateau, 114 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011; (212) 
206-1953. 

• WOMEN MAKE MOVIES is currently screening 
material for acquisition to expand 2 of its collections: 
the Punto de Vista: Latina series & the lesbian collec- 
tion. Documentary, narrative, animated & ex- 
perimental works produced after 1980 considered. 
Contact Women Make Movies prior to sending 
works, 19 W. 21st St., New York, NY 10010; (212) 
929-6477. 

• ASA COMMUNICATIONS, newly formed pro- 
duction & distribution company based in Springfield, 
MA, is actively seeking to distribute work of in- 
dependent filmmakers. Formed with the intent of 
giving producers more input into the promotion of 
their films. Contact David Mazor, ASA Communi- 
cations Inc., 265 State St., Springfield, MA 01103; 
(413) 781-5355. 

• THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL seeks video pro- 
grams produced by Black, Latino, Asian, Native 
American & third world artists for distribution to 
educational, community-based & artistic audiences & 
TV. Contact Third World Media Distribution Proj- 
ect, 335 W. 38th St., 5th fl., New York, NY 10018; 
(212) 947-9277. 

• ARTISTS VIDEOTAPE RENTALS store opens 
March '86 in hi-traffic Manhattan location. Seeking 
inventory: artists & indies on VHS format. Write for 
details: Colab TV, 245 Varet St., Brooklyn, NY 
11206. 

• PRODUCER LOOKING FOR TAPES: Hard 

news & informative footage from third world coun- 
tries. Contact Steve Grenyo, Planet Concerns, 20 
Clinton St., #6C, New York, NY 10002; (212) 
777-0230. 

• RAINDANCE FOUNDATION is looking for 
video works by artists, documentarians & indepen- 
dent producers for presentation on our "Night Light 
TV" program, which appears on Manhattan CATV 
& Group W late Friday nights. Works up to 56- Vi 
min. will be considered. Only V* " format is accep- 
table. Small honoraria will be paid for accepted 
works. Please include return postage unless you will 
be picking tapes up. Label tapes & include address & 
phone. Send tapes to Raindance Foundation, 51 5th 
Avenue. #1 ID, New York, NY 10003. 




Ross-Gaffney, Inc. 

21 West 46th StreeCN Y-10036 
Telephone (212) 719-2744 



Film ft Videotape Services 



CUTTING ROOMS 

TRANSFERS MAG & OPT 

MIXING — RECORDING — FOLEYS 

MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS 

CAMERA SOUND EDITING RENTALS 



BROADCAST STANDARD 3/4 " 
COMPUTER EDITING SUITES 

DUBS - TRANSFERS 



STEENBECK FCR BULBS $5 

all our prices reflect this great savings. 
COMPARE 



Comprehensive Post-Production 
Facilities and Equipment Rental 



Ross-Gaffney, Inc. 
Est. 1955 




INDEPENDENT 



PRODUCER'S 



SUPER 8 



A comprehensive guide 

to state of the art 

equipment and its 

application, film 

festivals and lab 

services, available 

in Super 8. 

Send S5. 00 pp to 

Super 8 Sound 

95 Harvey Street 

Cambridge, MA 02 1 40 

617-876-5876 



MARCH 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 41 




23 



Years of Award 
Winning Films 



• Complete Animation Services 

• Special Effects 

• Title Design 

• Computerized Oxberry 
With Image Expander 

• Slides to Film 



Film Planning Associates 

38 East 20 Street 
New York, NY 10003 
212-260-7140 



Inr 



Opportunities • Gigs 

• PART- TIME INSTR UCTORS NEEDED: Spring 
& summer sessions, 16mm Film Production, Docu- 
mentary Video, Directors Project, Color Video 
Cameras, Screenwriting & Video Basics Production. 
Salary commensurate w/ experience. Send resume, 
cover letter to Kim Ingraham, Media Training Coor- 
dinator, Film/Video Arts, 817 Broadway, New York, 
NY 10003. 

• INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCTION COM- 
PANY searching for completed contemporary, hu- 
manistic or suspenseful copyrighted original screen- 
play. Submit treatment or script to Breakaway Pro- 
ductions, 70 W. 82nd St., New York, NY 10024. 

• PROPOSALS FOR "FRONTLINE": PBS's wkly 
public affairs series will consider proposals on public 
policy issues from documentary producers whose 
prior work has demonstrated an ability to combine 
good journalism w/ good filmmaking. Submission 
may be either 1 - or 2-pg. treatment or a rough cut of a 
completed (or near completed) film on Va " or VHS 
cassette. Deadline for 1987 season Apr. 1, 1986. Send 
to Marrie Campbell, Series Editor, Frontline, 125 
Western Ave., Boston, MA 02134. 

• FEA TURE SCREENPLA YS WANTED: Recent- 
ly formed independent film production co. seeks 
quality copyrighted feature-length scripts. Interested 
in drama, comedy, spy/suspense, horror or exploita- 
tion. Send script (& SASE if you desire return) to In- 
dependent Film Ventures, Rt. 6, Box 1481, Hatties- 
burg, MS 39401. 

• CAMERAPERSON w/ Va " broadcast quality 
equipment wanted for weekly public access TV pro- 
duction. Quality, low budget. Subject: psychological 
analysis of current events; news & talk show format. 

42 THE INDEPENDENT 



Also looking for nationwide access distribution. Call 
Steve, (212) 242-2496, NYC. 

• REAL-LIFE ADVENTURE FILMS: Needed 
crew w/ good health for separate docu-dramas in the 
Amazon River, sailing in the Caribbean & Africa. 
Summer & winter, 1986-87. Pay & expenses. If own 
equipment, helpful but not necessary. Write to 
Robert Monticello Productions, Box 372, New York, 
NY 10014. 

• NON UNION B& WFEA TURE needs cinematog- 
rapher w/ strong B&W samples on reel. Contact 
Franco Productions, Box 2253, Stuyvesant Sta., 
New York, NY 10009. 

• EXPERIENCED VIDEOMAKERS needed for a 
major international project in the U.S. & around the 
world. Have to own Vt " or VHS equipment (for 2 
different tasks). Also those who own equipment & 
are willing to learn the skills should apply. Please 
specify make of equipment, system (PAL or NTSC), 
facility, resume or curriculum vitae, availability of 
time & separate daily rates for you & your equip- 
ment. Write to ZIP, Box 74, Cathedral Sta., New 
York, NY 10025-0074. 

• SUPER 8 PRODUCTION: Independent producer 
seeking volunteer(s); actors, cinematographers, 
sound mixer, gaffer(s), special effects design, art 
director(s), make-up & hairstylist & other crew posi- 
tions. Send resume or letter to Gaspar Productions, 
Box 3764, Chatsworth, CA 91313-3764. 

• ARTISTS CALL FOR NON-INTERVENTION 
IN CENTRAL AMERICA is seeking creative in- 
dividuals who are interested in actively participating 
in projects to raise funds for material support to ar- 
tists/technicians in Nicaragua, to organize exhibi- 
tions of Nicaraguan artists' work here in the U.S., 
cultural exchanges, etc. CHISPA, 318 E. 6th St., Box 
191, New York, NY 10003. 



Resources • Funds 

• MEDIA BUREAU has limited funds avail, for 
presentation of video or audio tapes. Requests 
should be made at least 4 weeks prior to the event. 
Appl. forms avail. For more info, contact Media 
Bureau, The Kitchen, 512 W. 19th St., New York, NY 
10018; (212) 255-5793. 

• NEW YORK COUNCIL ON THE HUMANI- 
TIES Mini Grant Program for grants up to $1,500. 
Proposal due 6 wks. before proposed event. For info, 
contact NY Council on the Humanities, (212) 
233-1131, NYC. 

• CHECKERBOARD FOUNDATION announces 
2nd annual video grants. Two $10,000 grants to New 
York video artists, made possible w/funds from 
NYSCA. Must be used for post-production. Dead- 
line for entries: March 31, 1986. Write Checkerboard 
Foundation, Box 222, Ansonia Sta., New York, NY 
10023. 

• EATV PRESENTS Vincent Pollard's Distant 
Thunder & Unseen Lightning, a slide-to-video 
transfer & readings by other poets. To bicycle this 
tape to your access channel, call (312) 721-8977 or 
864-6191, IL. 

• XCHANGE TV, an Inter-Americas Media Net- 
work offers a 2-hour package of broadcast-quality 
video programming, produced by Nicaraguan 
videomakers for sale or rent in 3 A " & Vi " formats. 
Comprised of four 28-min. programs. Tape orders: 
XChange TV Film & Video Library, 445 W. Main 
St., Wyckoff, NJ 07481; (201) 891-8240. 



• HOMETOWN USA BICYCLE TOUR series of 
10 programs of community TV from the 1985 
"Hometown USA Video Festival," avail, for rental 
from NFLCP. $126 for a 10-day rental. Reservation 
forms available from NFLCP, 906 Pennsylvania 
Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20003; (202) 544-7272. 

• NEW YORK FOUND A TION FOR THE AR TS 

1986-87 Artists-in-Residence program sponsor ap- 
plications & guidelines are now avail. Deadline: 
March 21, 1986. Contact NYFA, 5 Beekman St., 
New York, NY 10038; (212) 233-3900. 

• NEW JERSEY COUNCIL ON THE ARTS 
matching grants & fellowships for FY 1987 applica- 
tions avail, upon request. Call NJSCA, (609) 292-6130 
or 292-0495. Applications also avail, at NJ county li- 
braries & arts agencies. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• CENTER FOR NEW TELEVISION Video & 
Computer Graphics workshops & seminars incl. 
"Legal Aspects of Video Production," "Creating 
Titles & Logos," "Basic & Advanced Scriptwriting," 
"Video Production," "Video Editing," & "Time 
Code." CNTV, 11 E. Hubbard, 5th fl., Chicago, IL 
60611. 

• GLOBAL VILLAGE Seminar Workshop in Pro- 
fessional Production. Eight sessions beg. March 19, 
1986, Weds. 6:30-10:30 P.M. $500, lab fee $350, 
payable at registration. Contact Global Village, 454 
Broome St., New York, NY 10013; (212) 966-7526. 

• INTERNATIONAL FILM WORKSHOPS: June 
& July, 1986, in Rockport, ME. For working profes- 
sionals who want to develop greater skills w/in the 
field & advance their careers. One- & 2- week master 
classes & workshops, weekend seminars & clinics, in- 
cl. camera, scriptwriting, AC's clinic, film actors, 
production, lighting, AD/PM workshop, electronic 
cinematography, film director master class, editing, 
Steadicam/Panaglide workshop, TV news feature 
workshop, producing & directing for TV commer- 
cials & funding film projects. Int'l Film Workshops, 
Rockport, ME 04856; (207) 236-8581. 

• FILM SCRIPT SUPERVISOR wants to teach 
NABET & IATSE techniques of matching, continui- 
ty &recording in exchange for video & film camera 
operation instruction. Also class in film script super- 
vision for feature & commercial techniques. Call 
Steve Solomon, (718) 802-0067, NYC. 

• NEW YORK STATE SUMMER SCHOOL OF 
MEDIA ARTS for high school students from the 
state. Six weeks, from June 22-Aug. 1, 1986, at the 
Ctr. for Media Study, State University at Buffalo & 
Media Study/Buffalo. Tuition is $1,000, incl. room, 
board, supplies & special events. Tuition assistance 
avail, ranging from $75 to full tuition. Contact Bob 
Reals or Marilee Hamelin, NYS Summer School of 
Media Arts, Rm. 681 EBA, State Educ. Dept., 
Albany, NY 12234; (518) 474-8773. 

• FILM/VIDEO ARTS spring, 1986, media train- 
ing incl. 16mm film production, "in-field" 
maintenance for professional cameras, portable 
video production, time code, videocassette editing & 
3-tube video cameras. FVA, 817 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 



Publications 



> MEDIA NETWORK NEWSLETTER: Created 

MARCH 1986 



to provide channel of communication for producers, 
programmers, distributors & activists interested in 
social issue media. Quarterly issues will incl. resource 
guides, reviews of new releases, field reports, news- 
clips, organization profiles & feature articles on 
creative political uses of media. 1st issue avail. Sub- 
scription $5 for 4 issues. Make checks payable to 
Media Network & mail to Media Network Newslet- 
ter, Box N, 208 W. 13th St., New York, NY 10011. 

• CHICAGO NEWSLETTER: Monthly publica- 
tion of Chicago Area Film & Video Network, avail, 
to members. For more info on newsletter & other 
membership services, contact CAFVN, Box 10657, 
Chicago, IL 60610; (312) 661-1828. 

• CORPORATE FOUNDATION PROFILES: 
Published by Foundation Center. Contains analy- 
tical profile of 234 company-sponsored foundations. 
Incl. foundation's statement of purpose, breakdown 
of grants by subject & sample grants. $55; 25% dis- 
count for 5 or more copies. Contact Foundation 
Center, 79 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10003; (800) 
424-9836. 

• NYC ARTS FUNDING GUIDE: 2nd edition of 
listing & profile of grant-giving NYC corporations, 
$13.95. Reference copies avail, at many NYC loca- 
tions. For more info on reference locations or to 
order, contact Center for Arts Information, 625 
Broadway, 9th fl., New York, NY 10012; (212) 
677-7548. 

• HUMAN RIGHTS FILM GUIDE: Resource 
guide to over 400 films & tapes on human rights 
issues. Cross-referenced & indexed. $7.50 postpaid. 
Contact FACETS, 1517 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL 
60614; (312) 281-9075. 

• FILM CANADIAN A 1983-1984: Canada's na- 
tional filmography. Incl. bibliographic data on over 
2,500 films, directory of Canadian producers, dis- 
tributors & over 1,500 film organizations. $20, plus 
provincial sales tax, if applicable, payable to 
Receiver General for Canada. Send to Customer 
Service, National Film Board of Canada, Box 6100, 
Sta. A, Montreal, Quebec H3C 3H5. 

• VIDEO EXHIBITION DIRECTORY: Published 
by Bay Area Video Coalition. Directory of over 50 
national exhibitors of independent media. List also 
avail, on mailing labels. Directory: $4 plus $1 postage 
& handling; labels: $7.50 plus $ 1 p & h. Send check or 
money order to BAVC, 1 1 1 1 17th St., San Francisco, 
CA 94107; (415) 861-3282. 

• COMPLETE DICTIONAR Y OF TELEVISION 
& FILM, by Lynne Naylor Ensign & Robyn Eileen 
Knapton, avail, from Stein & Day. Over 3,000 terms 
used daily by writers, technicians, newscasters, 
agents, execs, actors, directors, etc. Price: $35. Stein 
& Day, Scarborough House, Briarcliff Manor, NY 
10510. 

• BASELINE information service provides access to 
data on film, stage & TV titles, industry personnel, 
current productions, film demographics, literary 
properties, etc. Contact 1-800-CHAPLIN; New 
York State or foreign countries call (212) 254-8235. 

• EAR, Magazine of New Music "Composer & the 
Moving Image" issue now avail. $2 in N. America; $4 
outside N. America. Vol. 9, No. 5/Vol. 10, No. 1, 
Fall, 1985. New Wilderness Foundation, Inc., 325 
Spring St., Rm. 208, New York, NY 10013. 

• VIDEO CLASSICS, by Deirdre Boyle, a guide to 
the best original video art & documentary tapes pro- 
duced in the U.S. during the past 15 years. Incl. de- 
tailed critical reviews, background on artists & list of 
awards & credits for each entry. 112 pp., paper- 
bound. $20 plus postage & handling. Oryx Press, 

MARCH 1986 



2214 N. Central at Encanto, Phoenix, AZ 
85004-1483; (800) 457-ORYX. 

• THE WORKING ARTS "Special Film & Video 
Issue, Insurance Glossary," $2.50. BALA members 
subtract 10%, add 6.5% sales tax for sales in CA, $1 
for orders under $5 plus $1 for each additional $15. 
Avail, from Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts, Fort 
Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 775-7200. 

• THE ART OF FILING tax workbook for visual, 
performing, literary artists & other self-employed 
professionals. $9.95, plus 6% sales tax for Minnesota 
residents & $1 .50 postage. R&C/UA, 41 1 Landmark 
Ctr., 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul, MN 55102; (612) 
292-4381. 

• VIDEO ART DISTRIBUTION: Video Tape 
Review 86, an annotated catalog presenting over 500 
videotapes by 105 independent producers & 15 curat- 
ed series w/ critical introductions, is now available 
for $5 from the Video Data Bank, School of the Art 
Institute, Columbus Dr. & Jackson Blvd., Chicago, 
IL 60603. 



Trims • Glitches 



• CONGRATULATIONS to U.S. programs 
selected for INPUT '86 screenings, incl. Alive from 
Off Center by KTCA-TV/Walker Art Center; Annie 
Mae, by Native American Public Broadcasting Con- 
sortium/Brown Bird Productions; Boomtown, by 
Reduta Deux, Ltd.; Entertainment, by the Kitchen; 
Freckled Rice, by Stephen Ning; Growing Up With 
Rockets, by Vanguard Productions; Harold of 
Orange, by Film in the Cities; The Highly Exalted, by 
Kim Shelton; Leaving the 20th Century, by Max 
Almy; Luminere, by John Sanborn & Dean Winkler; 
The Mexican Tapes, by Louis Hock; Necros, by 
James Chressanthis; Partisans of Vilna, by Ciesla 
Foundation; Private Practices — The Story of a Sex 
Surrogate, by Kirby Dick Productions; SL-1, by 
Beecher Films; Vacant Lot, by Kate Davis; Vidalia 
McCloud — A Family Story, by Mack Productions; 
and White Oak Goes Black, by Marian Marzynki & 
Jean de Segonzac. 

• KUDOS to Joan Rosenfelt for her selection as 1 of 
6 Directorial Interns at the American Film Institute. 

• KUDOS to Loni Ding, who has won a Gold Medal 
for History & Biography for Nisei Soldier from the 
International Film & TV Festival. 

• CONGRA TULA TIONS to Edin Velez, producer 
of As Is, which received the Grand Prix award at 
Ville de Geneve. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Mid Atlantic States 
Arts Consortium regional residency program win- 
ners Krzysztof Wodiczko, Bucky Schwartz, and Judith 
Vassallo. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to New York State 
Council on the Arts Film Program grant winners: 
Jane Aaron, Joanne Akalaitis, Alan Berliner, Lizzie 
Borden, Robert Breer, Philippe Browning, Ayoka 
Chenzira, Kathleen Collins, Peter Davis, Stephen 
Dreher & Keven Cloutier, Herman Engel, Andrea 
Kirsch & Laura Flanders, Roberta Friedman & 
Grahame Weinbren, Tony Heriza, Kyle Kibee, Bar- 
bara Kopple, Danny Lyon, Jessie Maple, Katherine 
Matheson, Sheila McLaughlin, Errol Morris, George 
Nierenberg, Stephen C. Ning, Kathe Sandler, Greta 
Schiller, Deborah Shaffer, Renee Tajima & Christine 
Choy, J.T. Takagi, Leslie Thornton, Louise 
Tiranoff & Merce Williams & Roger Phenix. 



INDEPENDENT 
BOOKSHELF 

Don't look any further for essential 
media tomes. These titles are available 
at AIVR 

The Independent Film & Video 
Makers Guide 

by Michael Wiese, $14.95 

How To Prepare Budgets for Film & 
Video 

by Michael Wiese, $14.95 

Film & Video Service Profiles 

Center for Arts Information 
$6.75 (video) 

Selected Issues in Media Law 

by Michael F. Mayer, $2.50 

Get The Money & Shoot 

by Bruce Jackson, $15.00 

Copyright Primer 

by Joseph B. Sparkman, $3.50 

Independent Feature Film 
Production 

by Gregory Goodell, $7.95 

The AIVF Guide to Distributors 

by Wendy Lidell, Mary Guzzy 

$7.00 members, $8.95 non-members 

ShipShape Shipping 

by Wendy Lidell, Victoria Cammarota 
$3.00 

To order by mail, add $1.00 to the 
price of each book to cover postage 
and handling. Make checks payable 
to AIVF and mail to: AIVF Books, 625 
Broadway, 9th floor. New York. NY 
10012. 



• CONGRATULATIONS to New York State 
Council on the Arts Media Program grantees Jaime 
Barrios, Lyn Blunenthal, Peer Bode, Ed Bowes, 
Barbara Broughel, Shu Lea Cheang, Tony Conrad, 
Loraine Cornfield, Juan Downey, Lee Eiferman. 
Laura Flanders & Mary Jane Sullivan, Suzanne E. 
Frew, Linda Gibson, DeeDee Halleck, Doris Hays. 
Kathryn High, Gary Hill, Joan Jonas, Ardele Lister, 
Mark Magill, Rita Myers, Yvette Nieves-Cruz, Nam 
June Paik, Liz Phillips, Al Robbins, Caryn Rogoff, 
Carlota Schoolman, David Schulman, John 
Sturgeon, Keiko Tsuno, Kirk Von Heflin & Ann- 
Sargent Wooster. 

• KUDOS to Media Alliance for its $25,000 market- 
ing grant from the New York State Council on the 
Arts. 

• AMERICAN FILM now has a new address: 30 E. 
60th St., New York, NY 10022. 

THE INDEPENDENT 43 



Joseph Papp presents 



THE GLOBAL VILLAGE 




Documentary 
Festival 

Celebrating Video, 
Film & Television 
Documentaries 

More than 25 new and 
outstanding documentaries, 
selected from over 200 entries 
from a wide range of genres 
and makers, will be celebrated 
in this 9-day Festival, hosted 
for a second year by Joseph 
Papp's Public Theater. 

Write or call to receive 
schedule or additional infor- 
mation: Celia Chong, GLOBAL 
VILLAGE, 454 Broome Street, 
New York, NY 10013 
(212) 966-7526 

This program is supported by the 
New York State Council on the Arts 
and the National Endowment for the 
Arts. 



April 18-20 & 22-27 1986 

At The Public Theater 425 Lafayette Street, New York City 



%" VIDEO ck POST PRODUCTION 



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ALSO AVAILABLE: 

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LOCATION PACKAGE WITH IKEGAMI 730 & 

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625 Broadway, 9th floor 
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APRIL 198< 


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FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY $2.°° 


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IMITATION OF LIFE 

YVONNE RAINER ON SEXUAL (MIS)REPRESENTATIONS 
JILL GODMILOW'S TALE OF A TUB 
MAKO IDEMITSU REMEMBERS MAMA 



NISSAN PRESENTS 




TENTH ANNUAL F ILM AWARDS 



This could be your ticket to Hollywood! 
Enter the Tenth Annual FOCUS Film 
Competition, 

This is your chance of a lifetime to 
make your break, win your share of over 
$60,000 in cash prizes and Nissan 
automobiles and gam recognition in 
the film community. 

Enter your best work now. * This may 
be a unique opportunity for you. 



' rhe entry you submn must have been produced on a non- 
commercial basts white you were entoltedtn a US college, 
omvetstty. art institute ot professional lilm school 




NARRATIVE 
FILM 



Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 

in cash prizes. First place winner 

receives a new Nissan Sentra. 

SPONSORED BY AMBLIN 

ENTERTAINMENT, 

INC. Board of Judges: 

Joe Dante, Nina Foch, 

Ban da i ' Kleiser, 

Steven Lisberger, 

Robert Zemeckis. 



DOCUMENTARY 
FILM 



Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded 
in cash prizes. First place winner 
receives a new Nissan Sentra. 
SPONSOBED BY HOME BOX OFFICE 
Board of Judges: Michael Apted, 
Saul Bass, Ellen 
Hovde, Warren Miller, 
Humberto Bivera. 

ir 




ANIMATED/ 
EXPERIMENTAL FILM 



Finished 16mm film. $4,500 awarded in 
cash prizes. First place winner receives 
a new Nissan Sentra. SPONSORED BY 
UNIVERSAI PICTURES. Board of 
Judges: John Canemaker, 
Ed Hansen, 
Faith Hubley, 
Chuck Jones, 
Jay Sarbry. 



FILM 
EDITING 



Canemaker, ^^^^ 



SCREENWRITING 



Original featureJength screenplays. 
$4,500 awarded in cash prizes. First 
place winner receives a new Nissan 
Sentra. SPONSORED BY COLUMBIA 
PICTUBES Board of Judges: 
MansaBerke, Tony Bill, Syd Field, 
Bruce Gilbert, 
Anne Kramer. 




SOUND 
ACHIEVEMENT 



Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 

SPONSORED BY DOLBY 

LABOBATORIESINC. Board of Judges: 
Jim Corbett, 
Donald 0. Mitchell, 
Frank Warner. 




Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 
SPONSOBED BYBENIHANA OF 
TOKYO, INC. Board of Judges. 
Lynzee Klingman, 
Carol Littleton, 
Bic hard Marks. 



'NIHANAOF 

of Judges: ^^0 




CINEMATOGRAPHY 



Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 
SPONSORED BY EASTMAN 
*g+ KODAKCOMPANY. 

^k H ^L John Bailey, 

1|§JF A.S.C. 
1(5^ Villalobos 



WOMENINFILM 
FOUNDATION AWARD 



Finished 16mm film or feature-length 

screenplay. $1,000 prize. SPONSOBED 

BYMAXFACTOB&CO. 

Board of Judges: 

Judy James, llene 

Kahn, Margot 

Winchester. 



RENEEVALENTE 
PRODUCERS AWARD 




InhonorofRenee Valente, President 
of the Producers Guild of America. 
Finished 16mm film. $1,000 prize. 
Board of Judges: 
Benee Valente. 



irrca. 

nze. A 




INSTITUTIONAL 
AWARDS 



The corresponding college or university 
of the fir st- place winners of the 
narrative, documentary and animated/ 
experimental categories of FOCUS will 
receive $ 1, 000 in Eastman motion 
picture film and video 
tape from EASTMAN 
KODAKCOMPANY 
for their film 
department's use. 



PREMIERE AND AWARD 
CEREMONY 



All winners will be flown, expenses 
paid, to Los Angeles for the FOCUS 
Premiere and Award Ceremony, to 
be held August 27, 1986. 
Accommodations will be provided by 
THE SHEBATON PREMIERE HOTEL 
in Universal City 



COMPETITION 
DEADLINE: 
May 2. 1986 



Get a complete set of rules from 
your English, Film or Communications 
Department. Or write to: FOCUS, 
1140 Avenue of the Americas, 
New York, New York 10036. 
I '212/ 575-0270 



NISSAN PRESENTS 

NISSAN MOTOR CORPORATION IN U.S.A. 



BOARD OF GOVERNORS: Lewis Allen * John Avildsen ■ John Badham * Ingmar Bergman ■ Tony Bill ■ Mitchell Block ■ Barbara Boyle * James Coburn ■ Jules Dassin ■ John Davis * Bobert DeNtro * 
Stanley Donen ■ Richard Edlund, A.S.C. ■ Fedenco fellmt * Miles For man ■ Bob Fosse ■ John Frankenheimer ■ Robert Getchell ■ Bruce Gilbert ■ Taylor Hacktord * Ward Kimball ■ Herbert Kline * Arthur 
Knight * Barbara Kopple * Jennings Lang ■ David Lean * Jack Lemmon ■ Lynne Unman ■ Sidney Lumet ■ Frank Perry * Sydney Pollack ■ Ivan Beitman ■ Burt Reynolds ■ Gene Roddenberry ■ Herbert 
Ross ■ David F. Saliman ■ John Sc hie singer « George C. Scott " Stirling Silltphant ■ Joan Mick/in Silver * Neil Simon ■ Steven Spielberg ■ Peter Strauss ■ Saul Turell' Jerry Weintraub * Gene S. Weiss * 
Bruce Williamson ■ Robert Wise * Frederick Wiseman ■ David Wolper* Peter Yates * Charlotte Zwenn. HONORARY CHAIRPERSON: Benee Valente. ADMINISTRATION: TRG Communications, Inc. 



FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 



INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1986 




16 


VOLUME 9, NUMBER 3 






20 


Publisher: 


Lawrence Sapadin 




Editor: 


Martha Gever 


22 


Associate Editors: 


Debra Goldman 




Renee Tajima 




Contributing Editors: 


Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 






Andrea Estepa 


2 




Lucinda Furlong 






David Leitner 






Toni Treadway 




Art Director: 


Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 




Advertising: 


Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 




Distributor: 


Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St., 
Nutley NJ 07110 




Typesetting: 


Skeezo Typography 




Printer: 


PetCap Press 





The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York. NY 10012, (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1986 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson. festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa. membership services. 
Charlayne Haynes. program director; Sol Horwitz, 
Short Film Showcase project administrator, Debra 
Goldman, Short Film Showcase administrative 
assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter, 
president; Christine Choy, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Brenda Webb, secretary; Joyce 
Bolinger, treasurer. St. Clair Bourne; Loni Ding' Pearl 
Bowser; Howard Petrick Robin Reidy; Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio); Barton Weiss. 

APRIL 1986 



io 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

Domestic Disharmony: Mako Idemitsu's Psychodramas 
by Micki McGee 

A Little Something on Narrativity 

by Jill Godmilow 

Some Ruminations around Cinematic Antidotes to the 
Oedipal Net(tles) while Playing with De Lauraedipus 
Mulvey, or. He May Be Off Screen, but . . . 

by Yvonne Rainer 

MEDIA CLIPS 

Hollywood Babylon: The Filmex Story 

by Renee Tajima 

Buffalo Shuffle 

by Debra Goldman 

Willard VanDyke: In Memorium 

by Lucinda Furlong 

Jerome Hill Theater Opens 
Cassette Gazette 
Tapes Detente 
Sequels 

FIELD REPORT 

New Jersey Resurgence 

by Michelle Suzanne Schachere 




14 IN FOCUS 

The Artifice of Lighting 

by Lawrence Loewinger 

26 BOOK REVIEW 

Double Exposure: Fiction into Film 

reviewed by Janet Wickenhaver 

28 FESTIVALS 

Global Groove: The World Wide Video Festival 
by David Shulman 

In Brief 

33 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Andrea Estepa 

35 CLASSIFIEDS 

37 NOTICES 

40 MEMORANDA 



COVER: In a scene from Yvonne Rainer's "The Man Who Envied Women," Jack Deller. played by 
William Raymond, converses with his off-screen psychiatrist, while in the background an excerpt 
from Nicholas Ray's "In a Lonely Place" illustrates one of the classical narrative dilemmas en- 
countered by women at the movies. In "Some Ruminations around Cinematic Antidotes to the 
Oedipal Net(tles) while Playing with De Lauraedipus Mulvey. or. He May Be Off Screen, but . . . ," 
Rainer asks, "What's in it for us ladies?" and uses writings by Teresa De Lauretis and Laura Mulvey, as 
well as her own filmmaking experience to explore the political problems of cinematic narrative. 

Photo: courtesy filmmaker 



THE INDEPENDENT 



1 



MEDIA CLIPS 



HOLLYWOOD BABYLON: THE FILMEX STORY 




In better days, Fflmex screenings were held at the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City (1975-82). 

Courtesy Filmex 



It plays like a night-time soap: the machinations 
of powerful men in Hollywood, the money guys 
versus the art guys, the prodigal son returns, and 
so on. The setting is Los Angeles, and Filmex is 
variously the prize and the burden at center 
stage. 

Independents may not be so concerned with 
what goes on behind the scenes as what's on the 
screens, and Filmex has been a valued venue, of- 
fering prestige and a shot at Oscar qualification 
for independent filmmakers every year. Tradi- 
tionally, the Los Angeles International Film Ex- 
position plays in February or March. But this 
year, the festival theaters have been dark. 
Continuing money problems and a reconfigura- 
tion of the ruling camp may further delay the 
festival until fall. 

Filmex was founded in 1971 bymaverick Gary 
Essert, but the drama that continues today be- 
gan in 1981, the festival's tenth anniversary. It 
should have been a milestone for Filmex: after a 
decade, the festival had grown from an 11 -day 
showcase of 100 films to 400 films and sales of 
120,000 tickets. That year, too, the organization 
2 THE INDEPENDENT 



was named official coordinator of all public film 
events for the 1984 Summer Olympics. However, 
the 1981 festival began ominously when the 
opening night gala, intended as a major fund- 
raiser, became a financial debacle. By 1982, 
Filmex was in such bad shape that Essert publicly 
pled for $200,000 to save the festival. 

The next act has been well documented in the 
insightful article "A Question of Balance," by 
Geoff Gilmore, in the February/March 1984 is- 
sue of Media Arts. As Gilmore relates, Tom 
"Billy Jack" Laughlin, the actor-producer-di- 
rector, and his wife Dolores Taylor emerged as 
the white knights, offering Filmex a grant of 
$100,000, to be matched one to one. Laughlin 
was subsequently elected to the board of 
trustees. With the contributions that followed, 
the financial crisis was averted. But, as reported 
in the Los Angeles press, Essert came under in- 
creasing fire for financial mismanagement and 
for alienating some members of the board. 

Then came the changing of the guard. In 1983, 
Essert's close associate, board chair Tom 
Pollack, resigned along with corporate president 



Mike Medavoy and treasurer Leonard Levy. 
Laughlin became the new board president; 
Hollywood executives William Magee and 
Charles Weber were elected chair and treasurer, 
respectively. The revamped Filmex board then 
proclaimed a new goal — a balanced budget. The 
Laughlin group wanted artistic director Essert to 
answer to an executive director who would con- 
trol finances. Fiscal concerns would, in turn, 
supercede programming decisions. Suzanne 
McCormick, then director of the Chicago Inter- 
national Film Festival with a reputation for 
monetary efficiency, was hired. 

These changes were followed by what Gilmore 
called "the machinations and intrigues" that 
fueled the battle for Filmex. Todd McCarthy, 
writing in the August 24, 1983, issue of Variety, 
quoted an insider who called the power struggle 
"guerilla warfare." McCarthy pointed out, 
"With Filmex 1984 intended to take place in July 
so as to link with the Olympics, org [sic] is taking 
on unprecedented dimensions, which perhaps 
partly explains why high powered players are vy- 
ing for control of Filmex when they were never 

APRIL 1986 




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interested before." By August 1983 Essert had 
been forced out of Filmex. 

Like all heroes, or villains, in a soap, Essert 
quickly bounced back. By 1985 he unveiled a 
new organization, the American Cinematheque, 
which bore a remarkable likeness to the Los 
Angeles Film Center that had been envisioned 
earlier by Filmex. The Cinematheque, modeled 
after the Cinematheque Francaise and the 
British Film Institute, is to be a state-of-the-art 
film, television, and video archive scheduled to 
open in 1987 on the site of the art deco Pan 
Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. 

Meanwhile, minus Essert and with a mandate 
for fiscal restraint, Filmex never got completely 
out of debt. The figure has been variously 
reported as $270,000 to $300,000, down from the 
$370,000 of red ink McCormick inherited in 
1983. And in January of this year, the financially 
strapped organization began talks about merg- 
ing with none other than the American Cinema- 
theque. At this writing, the future of the festival 
remains uncertain. 

The entire Filmex staff has been laid off, with 
the exception of Ken Wlaschin, who replaced 
Essert as artistic director in 1984. Wlaschin told 
The Independent that Filmex has been tentative- 
ly rescheduled for the fall and that the merger 
was still being discussed. But at the American 
Cinematheque, Essert's secretary Susan Harri- 
son denied any knowledge of the merger, saying, 
"No one here will talk about that. We have no 
information." 

Certainly, the American Cinematheque has its 
hands full these days, having sponsored its first 
public event, "50 Years of Film from MoMA," 
and its first splashy benefit, "The Moving Pic- 
ture Ball," where honoree Eddie Murphy appar- 
ently attracted quite a crowd on behalf of the 
Cinematheque. Whatever happens to Filmex, it 
seems that Essert has emerged as a winner — at 
least for the moment. 

— Renee Tajima 



BUFFALO SHUFFLE 



More than a year after Media Study/Buffalo, 
the venerable upstate media center in New York, 
"temporarily" closed its doors, the prospects for 
reopening have grown drastically dimmer. In 
January, Media Study officially withdrew its 
1985/86 grant applications from the New York 
State Council on the Arts Film and Media Pro- 
grams. Said Film Program director B. Ruby 
Rich, "We don't know whether Media Study 
plans to reapply, because we've been unable to 
reach Dr. [Gerald] O' Grady [founder and direc- 
tor of the center]." Whether Media Study will 
qualify to reapply is also uncertain. As far as the 
NYSCA staff knows, none of the programs fund- 



ed during the last cycle were implemented, due to 
a broken boiler at Media Study's large but dila- 
pidated facility that rendered the building vir- 
tually uninhabitable [see "Buffalo Bills Come 
Due," "Media Clips," September 1985]. In such 
cases, a grantee cannot request more support un- 
til any unused or misspent funds are refunded to 
the agency. 

Unfortunately for the Buffalo media center, 
that is the very drama now being played at the 
National Endowment for the Arts, and the next 
scene may be staged in court. According to Ar- 
thur Warren, acting general counsel of the NEA, 
the Endowment has asked Media Study for a re- 
fund of grants totalling approximately $2 1 1 ,000. 
The interim audit that determined the figure was 
completed last May after NEA records showed 
Media Study "unable to document costs under 
various grants" given during a number of 
previous funding cycles, Warren reported. 
Almost half the money in question is a Challenge 
Grant of $100,000 awarded in 1977; its terms re- 
quire recipients to raise a three-to-one match of 
funds from new sources over a three-year period. 
But the NEA has been "unable to obtain reports 
documenting whether the matching require- 
ments had been met." The remainder of the re- 
quested refund can be traced to various grants 
for which, Warren said, "financial and de- 
scriptive reports were missing. This doesn't 
mean the programs didn't occur, but that Media 
Study failed to document them." 

When the NEA's request for documentation 
received no response last spring, the audit be- 
came final. The agency then attempted to collect 
the funds, again obtaining no results. Having ex- 
hausted internal NEA procedures for recovering 
the grants, the NEA has advised Media Study- 
that the matter was being placed in the hands of 
the Justice Department, which will evaluate its 
claim and determine if there is a basis for court 
action. The Independent was unable to reach 
O'Grady for comment on the NEA action. 

Although inactive, Media Study has never of- 
ficially closed, and few members of the Buffalo 
media community were prepared to concede its 
demise. O'Grady's plans to raise needed cash by 
mortgaging the Media Study building are famil- 
iar to local producers, and they still hope he will 
succeed. Commented Chris Hill, video curator 
at the Buffalo alternative art space Hallwalls, 
"Basically, Gerry has kept information about 
negotiations pretty much under his hat. But he's 
pulling together whatever equity he has." In light 
of the possible court action, Media Study's 
finances, like its building, may well have 
deteriorated beyond repair, and local producers 
were disturbed by the possibility that the shut- 
tered media center may never reopen. "It would 
be very damaging," admitted local mediamaker 
Brian Springer. Filmmaker and video artist Tony 
Conrad agreed, "It creates a kind of panic." 

But, Conrad also stressed, since coming to 
teach media at the State University of New York 



campus in Buffalo, he has found "very little 
that seems irreplaceable in the local media 
scene." Thanks to the university media pro- 
gram, which O'Grady also heads, new film and 
videomakers regularly emerge from the school to 
join the community. "I've seen a group of artists 
develop over two years, and then they all move 
to New York. But they're followed by another 
group, and when they leave there's another. It's a 
situation where there is pressure to create new 
initiatives. The community finds a place for itself 
to mobilize. No single institution here is the core 
institution." The current crop of producers in 
town, Conrad believes, "is an unusually strong 
group of younger makers." Hill contends that, 
whatever Media Study's prognosis, "the media 
community here is growing. There are a lot of 
new projects in the works, which indicates to me 
that people intend to stick around." 

For working producers, the most palpable ef- 
fect of Media Study's inactivity is the lack of ac- 
cess to production and postproduction equip- 
ment. "My major concern right now," observed 
NYSCA's Rich, "is what will happen to the 
equipment and how to get it into the hands of 
Buffalo producers." For the past several 
months, Springer has been designated by 
O'Grady to serve as semi-official liaison, provid- 
ing what he called "very limited access" to 
equipment like the Va " video editing system that 
was removed to a private home to protect it from 
the ravages of dampness and extreme cold. 
While it's possible for those known to have skills 
"to make arrangements" to use the equipment, 
Springer admitted this who-you-know-situation 
is not the access for which the equipment was 
funded. In addition, ex-SUNY students can 
sometimes rely on the kindness of the university 
staff, who allow them to use equipment when it 
is not needed for instruction. Finally, have-not 
producers turn to sympathetic friends who own 
cameras and decks. 

The paucity of easily available equipment has 
stirred a new local collective effort, dubbed 
Squeaky Wheel. The group "was somewhat 
born out of concern over Media Study, but not 
entirely," explained Springer, who is interim 
president while Squeaky Wheel, which claims 70 
members, incorporates. Its first project was to 
distribute a questionnaire designed to determine 
what kinds of equipment are privately owned as 
well as producers' current needs. Once they've 
established legal status, the group plans to apply 
to NYSCA for an equipment grant. 

As Conrad pointed out, media institutions are 
the result, not the cause, of the presence of an ac- 
tive artists' community, and the history of in- 
dependent media illustrates that makers who 
want to produce will usually find ways to work, 
with or without media center support. But, he 
also noted, the messy recent past and highly 
uncertain future of Media Study means that 
Buffalo now lacks "a comprehensive program 
of exhibition and production, an intersection of 



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media activity that creates a presence in the com- 
munity at large. It is sorely missed, because it 
made life so much easier." 

— Debra Goldman 



THE INDEPENDENT 



WILLARD VANDYKE: 
IN MEMORIAM 

Photographer and filmmaker Willard VanDyke, 
director of the film department at the Museum 
of Modern Art from 1965 to 1974, died of a heart 
attack on January 23. VanDyke was 79 years old 
and lived in Santa Fe. He had recently been 
appointed Laureate in Residence at Harvard 
University, and died in Jackson, Tennessee, 
while enroute to Cambridge. 

Born in Denver in 1907, VanDyke learned 
photography from his father; in 1929, he moved 
to Carmel, California, to study with Edward 
Weston. In 1932, Van Dyke, along with Weston, 
Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and 
others, founded Group F/64. That informal 
association, named after the smallest aperture on 
a lense — which provides the greatest depth of 
field and thus the sharpest image — took a purist 
approach to photography, eschewing the soft- 
focus pictorialist style then favored by 
photographer-artists . 

According to William Alexander in his book 
Film on the Left, VanDyke became politically 
conscious during this period, while working as 
an attendant in a gas station where he tried to 
unionize his fellow employees. VanDyke said 
that the experience "opened my eyes to some 
facts of life that were more than rocks and shells 
and peppers [referring to Weston's famous 
photographs]." He moved to New York City in 
1935 and joined Nykino, a leftist filmmaking 
collective, later reformed as Frontier Films, that 
included Paul Strand, Leo Hurwitz, and Ralph 
Steiner. His big break as a cinematographer 
came with Pare Lorentz's The River, a film 
about flooding along the Mississippi. 

In 1938, VanDyke and Steiner left Frontier 
Films amid controversy over the production of 
The City, VanDyke and Steiner 's classic film on 
urban planning that was shown at the 1939 
World's Fair. VanDyke attributed the break to 
his unwillingness to make "propaganda films," 
although inadequate pay and the organization's 
hierarchy were also issues. 

During World War II, VanDyke joined the 
Office of War Information's Overseas Motion 
Picture Bureau, which made propaganda films. 
For the next 20 years, he produced numerous 
educational, corporate, and government- 
sponsored films, as well as several programs for 
CBS's The Twentieth Century. Besides The City, 
his best known films are Valley Town (1940), 
about the displacement of steel workers after the 

APRIL 1986 




The late Willard VanDyke talks with Ralph Steiner at the Whitney Museum of American Art's 
1981 "Tribute to Willard VanDyke." 

Photo: George Hirose 



development of high-speed machinery, and The 
Photographer (1947), a portrait of Edward 
Weston. 

VanDyke's tenure at MOMA was marked by 
an open-mindedness toward all forms of film- 
making. He initiated two exhibition series, 
Cineprobe and What's Happening, that remain 
important forums for the screening and discus- 
sion of independent films. He served as president 
of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminars and vice- 
president of the International Federation of Film 
Archives. 

He left MOMA to become director of the film 
program at the State University of New York at 
Purchase, where he taught until 1981 . In the late 
1970s, he returned to photography and was given 
retrospective exhibitions at the Witkin Gallery in 
1977 and at the International Museum of Pho- 
tography/George Eastman House in Rochester 
in 1978. 

— Luanda Furlong 



JEROME HILL THEATER 
OPENS 

The independent community can count one 
more theatrical venue with the opening of the 
Jerome Hill Theater in St . Paul . The newly reno- 
vated, 270-seat theater is run by Film-in-the- 
Cities, a Minneapolis-based media center that 
formerly screened films in its much smaller 
gallery space. The new theater features 35mm 
and 16mm projection, as well as a sound-proof 
APRIL 1986 



"cry room" on the balcony for parents and their 
babies. 

Like the Center for Southern Folklore's Bijou 
Theater in Memphis, the Hil! results from a 
downtown revival effort. For about three years 
prior to the opening of the Hill, central St. Paul 
had no movie theater, according to Bo Smith, 
FITC's director of film and performance exhibi- 
tions. Like many downtown districts, the area 
empties after work hours, and the bulk of local 
entertainment spaces are located outside its 
perimeters. However, through city efforts, the 
area has experienced a dramatic turnaround dur- 
ing the past year. The Hill is the first tenant on 
the ground floor of a large, renovated office 
building, across the street from Galtier Plaza, a 
new condominium-shopping complex. FITC 
rents the theater space from the Palmer Group, a 
private developer that owns the building. The 
media center helped plan the renovations of the 
Hill, which include a stage extension designed 
for performances. 

Smith is satisfied with the attendance figures 
so far, but admits that the theater is being tested 
in a highly competitive market. When the Je- 
rome Hill opened its doors on December 6 of last 
year the number of downtown theaters rose 
from zero to five — a four-plex opened for busi- 
ness the same day. The commercial cineplex pro- 
grams standard Hollywood fare, and its pres- 
ence probably enhances the Hill's appeal simply 
by bringing people into the neighborhood. But, 
as Smith points out, the real competition lies in 
the market itself. The Twin Cities metropolitan 
area is saturated with theaters with significant 
art house/repertory programming. The nearby 
University Film Society and Walker Art Center 
are traditional venues for independent and 



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Motion Picture and 

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Call for Entries 

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foreign films, and several new screens, even at 
mall-based cineplexes, are beginning to show in- 
dependent features because of the competition 
from so many theaters. "It demands that I be 
more creative in my programming," says Smith. 
"To do well we have to attract 1 ,000 people per 
week. You've got to do what works." 

Smith is sensitive to commercial necessity, 
particularly coming from an 80-seat gallery set- 
ting where bottom-line pressures were not nearly 
as intense. In any city, showing foreign or in- 
dependent films entails risks. Part of his strategy 
will consist of "theme weeks," packages of 
several films on similar subjects that can be col- 
lectively publicized. The week I spoke with 
Smith, four films with Jewish subject matter 
were being shown, with promotion targeted to 
the Jewish community. The same stategy is in the 
works for Haskell Wexler's Latino and several 
retrospectives films by individual directors. The 
move out and up may not necessarily mean gen- 
trification of FITC's programming. It will con- 
tinue its single screenings of experimental works, 
such as Trin Minh-ha's Naked Spaces. Forty to 
50 other single night shows will also be scheduled 
at the Hill in the coming year. 

— RT 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



CASSETTE GAZETTE 

Six Washington, D.C., artists have collaborated 
to produce Childhood, the first in a series of 
video magazines packaged for VCR viewers. 
The Video Windows series was conceived by 
videomaker and photographer Margot Keman 
as an alternative to both television and home 
video programming currently on the market. 
Says Keman, "We think of our audience as peo- 
ple like us — who like art, but not necessarily the 
avant-garde. Our tapes are involving, thought- 
provoking, but accessible." 

Kernan took her idea for the series of 55- 
minute video magazines to the Washington Pro- 
ject for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that 
sponsors various media programs. With funding 
from the National Endowment for the Arts, 
WPA was able to provide Video Windows with 
its first grant. The six artists, Christiane 
Graham, Jamie Walters, Nancy Garruba, Garri 
Garripoli, Bob Boilen, and Kernan, decided on 
childhood as the theme for the first set of in- 
dividual tapes. 

The program premiered last month at WPA, 
which has non-exclusive distribution rights and 
sells the tapes at its center. Kernan is now in the 
process of raising additional funds for future 
programs that will focus on such themes as pow- 
er, color, games, uniforms, letters, and secrets. 
According to Kernan, the six original artists will 
continue as a production or editorial board for 

APRIL 1986 



Video Windows and may invite video artists to 
submit their work for possible inclusion in future 
programs. For information, contact Video Win- 
dows, (202) 338-0206. 

—RT 



TAPES DETENTE 

The Soviet Union has named the International 
Film Exchange as its official representative for 
home video acquisition in the United States. Ac- 
cording to IFEX president Gerald Rappaport, 
there are currently 60,000 VCRs in the USSR, 
with projected production levels at 10,000 sets 
annually. Goskino, the agency that oversees 
home video, has opened two video stores in 
Moscow, where tapes are available for rent at 
2.50 rubles (about $4) per day. 

IFEX executive vice president Chris Wood ex- 
pressed particular interest in independently pro- 
duced titles, ranging from shorts to documen- 
taries, features, music videos, and concert films. 
The company will acquire approximately 100 
titles for distribution in the USSR home video 
market and possibly pick up rights for other 
Eastern European countries and the domestic 
market. To submit works, send Vi " or 3 A " cas- 
settes to IFEX, attn: Chris Wood, 201 W. 52nd 
St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 582-4318. 



SEQUELS 



Editor's note: Events reported in The Indepen- 
dent often remain unresolved when our publica- 
tion schedule demands the end of revisions and 
additions. Therefore, many of the news stories 
we print are, in a sense, incomplete. In order to 
solve this dilemma, we are inaugurating a "Se- 
quels" section within the "Media Clips" col- 
umn, where updates on items in past issues of the 
magazine will keep readers informed about the 
outcome or subsequent developments of stories 
we've covered. 

□ 

The board of directors of the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting has named as its new presi- 
dent Martin Rubenstein, a veteran commercial 
broadcaster and former head of the Mutual 
Broadcasting System. Rubenstein replaces Ed- 
ward Pfister, who resigned last summer after a 
bitter feud with board chair Sonia Landau over 
a CPB delegation to the Soviet Union ["Cold 
Wars Waged at CPB," July/ August 1985]. The 
CPB Corporate Communications office was not 
APRIL 1986 



aware of any past involvement with public televi- 
sion on Rubenstein 's part, unlike his predecessor 
Pfister, who came to the CPB presidency from a 
long career in PTV. Rubenstein started out at 
ABC, becoming vice president and general man- 
ager of ABC News in 1969. He has been a com- 
munications consultant in Washington since 
leaving Mutual in 1984. 

□ 

New York City's Collective for Living Cinema 

didn't have to look too far for a new home after 
last year's eviction woes ["Collective Catastro- 
phe," July /August 1985]. The New York-based 
exhibition-workshop space will move across the 
street to 41 White Street, keeping its downtown 
identity intact. The Collective has launched a 
campaign to raise the $65,000 needed for pro- 
jected moving and renovation costs, with an of- 
ficial grand opening scheduled for the fall. 

D 

As predicted, Congress's Gramm-Rudman bal- 
anced budget measure failed a court test early 
this year ["The Battle of the Budget," March 
1986] , when a panel of federal judges ruled it un- 
constitutional. But President Reagan plans to 
take deficit cutting into his own hands by pro- 
posing cuts to domestic spending, including a 
$44-million recision from the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting's $214-million FY 1988 ap- 
propriation. If the President has his way, CPB's 
funding in FY 1989 will be down to $ 1 30-million. 
One prominent exception to the chief executive's 
budget axe: an eight percent increase in outlays 
for defense. 

□ 

In what may become a landmark case in media 
law, Preferred Communications vs. the City of 
Los Angeles ["Cable in the Courtroom," June 
1985] will be argued before the Supreme Court 
later this year. Last March, the U.S. Circuit 
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit invoked 
the First Amendment when it ruled that Los 
Angeles could hot give a single cable franchisee 
the exclusive right to wire the community. 
Although competing cable services would create 
economic chaos in most markets, the industry 
looks to this decision as the foundation of its 
campaign to establish cable as an electronic 
publisher with full First Amendment rights. In a 
"friend of the court" brief filed by the Office of 
Communications of the United Church of 
Christ, the Consumer Federation of America, 
the National Organization of Women Legal 
Defense Fund, and Black Citizens for Fair 
Media, the groups asked the court to reject 
Preferred's First Amendment argument, claim- 
ing its practical effect "would leave the public 
with a monopolistic operation that could renege 
on franchise contractual promises of service with 
impunity" and would mean an end to access 
channel requirements. 



CORRECTIONS 

In the December 1985 "In and Out of Produc- 
tion" column, All Our Lives/De Toda la Vida, 
by Lisa Berger and Carol Mazer, was incorrectly 
described as a Vi " videotape; the work was pro- 
duced in the Z A " format. And in the January/ 
February 1986 edition of "In and Out Produc- 
tion," Lynn Campbell should have been listed, 
with Claudette Charbonneau, as coproducer of 
Rate It X. 



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THE INDEPENDENT 



FIELD REPORT 



NEW JERSEY RESURGENCE 



Michelle Suzanne Schachere 



Mainly, I came to New Jersey because the rent 
was cheaper than in New York, but I have learn- 
ed to love it. It was being able to get out of the pit 
of the stone canyon — outside of its grip. I love 
being able to step on the PATH, go under the 
river and be able to face Anywhere, USA. I love 
being able to turn my back on the Big Apple. 
New Jersey is definitely not a bedroom com- 
munity. 

— David Davidson 
independent producer 
Hoboken, New Jersey 

People are discovering that New Jersey is not 
just a mass of oil dumps, not just a peninsula of 
New York City or Philadelphia. There is a 
consciousness in every area — the arts, mass tran- 
sit, tourism — that New Jersey is its own entity. 
— John Columbus 
director, Black Maria Film Festival 
West Orange, New Jersey 

The mammoth Manhattan skyline etches its 
spectacular, powerful silhouette along the banks 
of the Hudson River. For years, filmmakers and 
video artists lived on only one side of the river, 
looking with scorn and sarcasm at their feeble 
neighbor New Jersey. Now, Manhattan's over- 
priced real estate has helped establish New Jersey 
as a hotbed of talent. The artistic influx is chang- 
ing the Garden State's reputation from an object 
of ridicule to respect. The most immediate cause 
for this recent boom is the accelerating value of 
the waterfront property along the Hudson, a 
short train ride from Manhattan. Also, the past 
decade saw the revival of Atlantic City; the casi- 
nos have brought considerable income to the 
state and helped change New Jersey's image 
from that of a turnpike ride to a gold mine. 
The original film capital of the world, New 
Jersey housed the first motion picture studio, 
Thomas Edison's Black Maria. Frank Sinatra 
was raised on the streets of Hoboken. Eddie 
Murphy lives here. So does John Sayles. Woody 
Allen has shot most of his films in Jersey. The 
biggest factor in the rise of state pride and ac- 
claim, however, is native son Bruce Springsteen. 
Springsteen managed to redirect attention from 
the state's renowned toxic waste dumps to the 
region's offerings in the arts. In response to this 
burgeoning entertainment industry, the govern- 
ment of the Garden State has recently poured 
TO THE INDEPENDENT 




Mldwesferner Dave Davidson jumped off the corporate treadmill at CBS to take a chance 
as a freelance sound engineer in the East. After settling in New Jersey, he discovered the 
state Is "a hotbed of popular musicians and producers." His video short "Another Glenn in 
Orbit," featuring Scott Frank and Cody Lee, is a docudrama of rock and roll legend Harry 
Glenn that combines footage of the artist with scenes reenacted by actors. He is currently 
producing "The Gospel According to Cissy Houston," a half-hour pilot for a proposed lO-part 
series featuring New Jersey rhythm and blues artists. "I like New Jersey because the pres- 
sure to be trendy that's in New York is absent here," Davidson says. "Being trendy interferes 
with clear thinking, and you need to be clear and see who you are to be independent." 

Courtesy videomaker 

APRIL 1986 










Hoboken, New Jersey, is home to Emily Hubiey, whose animated films have received international acclaim. Her talent for creating highly 
evocative visualizations of abstract concepts and relationships is evident in "Delivery Man," in which "a young woman relates five 
dreams and experiences involving the doctor who delivered her, her mother who survived surgery, and her father who did not." Young 
viewers of "Sesame Street" were instructed in trial and error problem solving in her one-minute film, "Let Sleeping Dogs Eat." Her current 
project, "Deliberating Man," is about a Hamlet-like character who can't make up his mind. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



millions of dollars into its tourism bureau and 
the New Jersey Council for the Arts. 

"Funds have definitely been increasing 
yearly," states Noreen Tomassi, coordinator of 
Information Services at NJSCA. "The climate 
for the arts is ripe because there is more money to 
give, because of the governor's support." In line 
with his reelection campaign theme, "Putting 
Pride Back in New Jersey," Governor Thomas 
Kean has supported massive increases in the 
NJSCA budget: rising from $75,000 in 1966, the 
year of the agency's inception, to $6-million in 
1985 and a projected $8.7-million in 1986. 

Institutional media projects received a total of 
$154,360 in 1985, a 423 percent increase from the 
$29,500 allocated in 1984. What's distressing is 
that the substantial increase in funding for or- 
ganizations has been accompanied by a severe 
slash in individual fellowships for artists. In 
APRIL 1986 



1984, 12 media artists were granted a total of 
$27,000; in 1985, $8,000 was divided among six 
people. 

The biggest grant went to WNET, the public 
broadcasting station with a New Jersey-based 
signal. The $100,000 given WNET will pay the 
artists involved in the first New Jersey Summer 
Fair, according to Tomassi. New Jersey groups 
such as the New Jersey Symphony will be per- 
forming at sites around the state, and WNET 
will broadcast the series. In addition, the New 
Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority received 
$26,000 to produce a cable television program, 
State of the Arts. The show originates at the New 
Jersey Network, a public television production 
facility in Trenton, the state capital. The half- 
hour magazine format program airs on the first 
Sunday of each month and is carried, via cable, 
on channels in parts of New York State, Pennsyl- 



vania, and Delaware, as well as all over New 
Jersey. New Jersey artists, performers, and 
entertainers and their work are profiled in seg- 
ments entitled "Lifestyle," "Close-Up," "Star- 
bound," and "Art Gallery." 

NJSCA's third largest media grant was award- 
ed Newark Mediaworks, a nonprofit media arts 
center that also receives funding from the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts and some corpo- 
rate patrons. Incorporated in 1979, the organiza- 
tion is "designed as a liaison between media ar- 
tists and their community," according to Media- 
works executive director Christine Vogel. "Train- 
ing is available to community groups who wish to 
use the equipment for community needs, or 
Mediaworks will provide production services. 
We are nonprofit, so there is only a fee for main- 
tenance and to help cover replacement of equip- 
ment. Everything is on a first come, first served 
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12 THE INDEPENDENT 



basis." But Mediaworks's Va" and Vi" video 
equipment is not available for rental to indepen- 
dent producers. In fact, Vogel says quite clearly, 
"We are not a rental house." 

However, Mediaworks does feature indepen- 
dent work at the various screenings it sponsors, 
including programs like "A Look at Indepen- 
dent Women Producers from New Jersey." The 
organization is also spearheading the formation 
of the New Jersey Association of Media Artists, 
a statewide group of independent producers. 

The 1985 NJSCA grant of $15,000 to Media- 
works was earmarked for the New Jersey Film 
and Video Festival. But, again, the benefits for 
independents seem limited. In the festival's sec- 
ond year, the category of narrative features was 
eliminated and entries restricted to "any video- 
tape either produced at an access facility or 
cablecast over a local cable channel." 

Another festival funded by NJSCA is the 
Black Maria Film Festival, which was awarded 
$10,000 in 1985 under the auspices of the 
Oakside Bloomfield Cultural Center. Festival 
founder and director John Columbus describes 
the event as an opportunity to exhibit "film as an 
art form, where images are combined in an ar- 
tistic, kinetic, or storytelling fashion." The 
aesthetic focus of Black Maria is mirrored in the 
selection of judges, including curators at the 

APRIL 1986 




Whitney Museum of American Art and Muse- 
um of Modern Art. The festival has grown from 
a regional affair to a national touring program 
that features the four winning films as well as 31 
runners-up. 

The $1 ,500 given by NJSCA to the New Jersey 
State Library is used to finance the Newark 
Black Film Festival, now in its twelfth season. 
The event is a program of the Newark Museum, 
an auxiliary branch of the state library system, 
created "to honor excellence in independent 
filmmaking by black filmmakers." Mary Sue 
Sweeny, festival coordinator and director of pro- 
grams at the museum, explains, "We wanted to 
show works that aren't being shown in other 
places, to have a growing involvement with in- 
dependent filmmakers, and to enable indepen- 
dent black filmmakers to make films as black 
spokespeople." In the past 10 years, 176 films 
have been screened to a total audience of over 
25,000. 

The financial support to media institutions 
outlined above affirms the trend cited by Tomas- 
si. Speaking for NJSCA, Tomassi also voices 
support for the work of independent producers 
in the state and asserts that "because the number 
of applications [for fellowships] has gone up, so 
has the quality of the work." But, given the ex- 
penses entailed in making films or videotapes, 
APRIL 1986 



"The rise in New Jersey 
media Is due to the 
more sophisticated au- 
dience that has moved 
here, which is seeking 
higher quality media 
work," says Tami Gold, 
a Jersey City-based 
producer and media 
activist. Recently she 
turned her documen- 
tary skills— which have 
won her awards for 
tapes like "Signed, 
Sealed, and Delivered," 
about the lives of postal 
workers, and "From 
Bedside to Bargaining 
Table," on the nursing 
unions— to the home- 
grown problems of the 
housing crisis. "Not the 
American Dream," a 
series of how-to tapes 
on tenant rights, was 
shot and distributed on 
Vi " and eagerly re- 
ceived by residents of 
newly gentrified Hud- 
son County, which lies 
due west of New York 
City. Gold also coordi- 
nates Newark Media- 
works's Film/Video 
Festival. 

Courtesy videomaker 



NJSCA grants to individuals amount to nothing 
more than a pat on the back. While any film or 
videomaker may eventually benefit from the ex- 
posure and some distribution provided by the 
festivals, screenings, or cable programs NJSCA 
encourages, the money needed to create the 
work in the first place is not being provided. The 
burning irony of the situation is that indepen- 
dent producers must bear the economic burden. 
"You have, in a sense, priced yourself out of the 
standard grant structure," says Davidson. "You 
hope to get deferments from the lab, to get your 
friends to work for deferred payment, and you 
hustle. If you are dealing with a controversial 
topic or with unknown actors, you're on your 
own." 

Although NJSCA professes support of inde- 
pendent producers, an examination of its actual 
funding patterns shows support going primarily 
to institutions. The artists who have helped im- 
prove New Jersey's cultural reputation are being 
put on the back burner. 

Michelle Suzanne Schachere is an investigative 
journalist who dabbles in independent filmmak- 
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IN FOCUS i—^^^^— 

THE ARTIFICE OF LIGHTING 



Lawrence Loewinger 



As most lighting professionals know, lighting 
techniques for film and video are quite similar. 
The differences are really matters of degree and 
emphasis rather than principles. In a survey of 
working professionals in New York, I found that 
the myths surrounding lighting for videotape 
and the purported conflict between the video 
engineer and the electronic cinematographer are 
greatly exaggerated. Most agree that the elec- 
tronic cinematographer or videographer has 
come to play the preponderant decision-making 
role in lighting. The video engineer remains 
responsible for setting up and matching cameras 
and, as the shoot progresses, interpreting the in- 
formation displayed on the waveform monitor. 
But, as Harry Mathias and Richard Patterson 
argue in their landmark book Electronic Cine- 
matography, the videographer is really the boss 
[see "Camera Lucida," December 1985]. Vide- 
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and the technique of lighting from footcandle 
readings become masters of the video set just as 
cinematographers are masters of the film set. 

Any discussion of film and video lighting must 
begin with several inevitable comparisons. Video 
has a contrast ratio of 32: 1 or 5.25 f-stops, while 
film's ratio is 128: 1 or 7 f-stops. Video's light sen- 
sitivity is roughly equivalent to fine grain color 
negative film 5247 or 7291 . Finally, when broad- 
cast, video's resolving power is inferior to film 
on a scale of something like 1:5 in relation to 
16mm and 1 : 10 in 35mm. These factors combine 
to create the video image's "bad" reputation. 
But to the skilled lighting person, these limita- 
tions are challenges to overcome. 

"It is very easy to make a picture on tape. The 
problem is to refine it," explains Tom Hough- 
ton, an accomplished film and tape director of 
photography. Houghton, who shoots many 
commercials, walks onto a job fully expecting to 
light from scratch. Like many lighting DPs who 
do studio work, he takes his lighting clues from 
the script, the storyboard, and the director. Due 
to the smaller tonal range of tape, Houghton 
prefers to use soft or indirect lighting because it 



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gives him more control over tape's limited con- 
trast range. To maximize image sharpness he 
works with a stopped down lens that requires 
some extra lighting. More than some DPs, 
Houghton tends to rely on the video engineer to 
establish technical parameters. "Everybody is 
still learning," he insists, "and video engineers 
are a lot better than they were 10 years ago." 
Projects with ample budgets use the skills of 
many technicians, and the set designer, ward- 
robe, and hair and make-up people can help the 
videographer by knowing what will and will not 
photograph well on tape. Because of video's in- 
herent limitations regarding latitude, speed, and 
resolution, it has difficulties reproducing cloth- 
ing designs like herring-bone, detailed or in- 
tricate patterns, and extremes of color, par- 
ticularly black and white. 

Most lighting technicians confirm Houghton's 
preference for soft lighting units. Kevin Jones, 
who has had considerable experience lighting for 
both film and tape and whose music video of 
The Cars's "You Might Think I'm Crazy" won 
an MTV award for lighting in 1984, adds that 
tape lighting requires more fill: "The real differ- 



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14 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1986 



ence is that you are using an extra light in tape." 
He even suggested that the white card that is nor- 
mally an adjunct to film lighting become an in- 
dependent unit on tape. 

Lighting for tape is more than a matter of 
manipulating units in a studio or on location. 
Knowing how to interpret the image displayed 
on video and waveform monitors is equally im- 
portant. Mathias and Patterson argue in their 
book that the knowledgeable videographer can 
determine his or her lighting by the combined 
means of an incident light meter and the wave- 
form monitor. The latter reads the luminance or 
brightness values of a video signal, offering a 
visual display of the lighting as it takes place. 
Practically speaking, it operates as an electronic 
reflected light meter. All agree that, in lighting 
color video, luminance plays a far greater role 
than chrominance or hue. For example, one of 
New York's busier engineers, John Huntington, 
vice president and chief engineer at National 
Video Industries, advises videographers fresh 
from film to light from a monitor where the col- 
or has been removed. That way the monitor has 
a closer correlation to the waveform monitor, 
and you are really judging only luminance as you 
light. 

Most practitioners are probably unwilling to 
forego the chrominance in their monitors, but 
Huntington's advice is sound. Fewer still are will- 
ing to go as far as Mathias and Patterson in elim- 
inating the monitor altogether as an aid to light- 
ing, but their recommendation raises another 
important issue. What does the monitor tell you, 
and which monitor can you trust? Monitors are 
inconsistent in their renditions of color, sharp- 
ness and, often, framing. Even the control room 
monitor, ultimately the only one you can rely on, 
may be misleading. What is the quality of the 
ambient lighting in the control room? Too much 
and you can't tell what you are getting. 

Taping in the studio with an engineer and a 
full complement of electronic gear is but one 
working style. Because video is perceived as a 
cheaper alternative to film, a great deal of field 
work is done ENG-style, without the luxury of a 
waveform monitor and, sometimes, without the 
availability of a decent monitor. In such situa- 
tions, the videographer must be more technically 
self-reliant. Bob Achs is a director of photogra- 
phy who primarily shoots documentaries and in- 
dustrials in both film and tape. He comes from a 
film background, but as he has worked more in 
tape, he has acquired the technical skills of set- 
ting up a video camera in the field. In the absence 
of a waveform monitor he can determine his 
camera's light sensitivity by means of the zebra 
stripes in the viewfinder for maximum lumi- 
nance and the camera's gain boost and auto iris 
for minimum luminance. He has also found that 
tape can be more forgiving in regard to color 
balance than film. "Color balancing for film and 
tape are different," he notes. "You can white- 
balance for tape and get away with lighting mix- 

APRIL 1986 



tures that wouldn't work on film. For instance, 
if you put a half blue gel on a quartz light and 
white-balance on video it will match cool white 
fluorescents very nicely." 

Achs finds you have to use make-up more li- 
berally when working with tape. "Foreheads 
tend to shine more on tape. As a cameraperson I 
have gone out and bought make-up. I don't rely 
on the producer or the associate to bring make- 
up on the job." He also points out that while the 
color red reproduces adequately in 1 " and Vi " 
formats, it fares far less well on Vt ". "On V* " I 
know that reds and oranges will bleed. The only 
thing you can do is to try to avoid these colors." 

Finally, when lighting for either film or video- 
tape, you need to take into account the nature of 
the release format and how many generations re- 
moved the release print or tape will be from the 
original. Because videotape loses quality as it is 
copied over several generations, lighting that 
seemed either daring or subtle on the set may 
simply appear plain or ugly by the time release 
copies are distributed. Kevin Jones feels that film 
release prints retain more of the original's char- 
acter than tape, noting, "Film is more forgiving 
because the grain structure of film is already 
finer than the line scans of videotape." But all 
agree that if film is the original recording medi- 
um and tape the finishing and release medium, 
the earlier the film is transferred to tape the bet- 
ter. All recommend a film negative-to-tape 
transfer, if possible. 

The impression left by professionals working 
in both mediums is that you can do everything on 
tape that you do on film — within limits, since the 
video image is smaller, more contrasty, and con- 
tains less detail. Because some people think of 
tape as cheaper, they budget less for video pro- 
duction, expect quicker results, and settle for in- 
ferior quality. Producers seem simply to want to 
hire smaller crews, rent fewer lights and less 
audio equipment, and spend less time in produc- 
tion. So video's alleged low cost may instead 
reflect a willingness to settle for less. One active 
videographer, Nick Hutak, who is making the 
transition to film, finds that his film budgets are 
higher and that production companies more 
readily pay higher wages to hire quality tech- 
nicians. Thus, the problems associated with 
videotape result as much from sloppy attitudes 
as from inherent limitations. At present, tape 
can achieve attractive results and, with the ad- 
vent of high definition and digital television, its 
quality will come closer to film's. The techno- 
logical constraints of any medium are most often 
found in the imaginations of those who use it. 

Lawrence Loewinger is an active freelance film 
and video sound recordist and technical writer 
whose work will appear in American Cinema- 
tographer later this spring. He was an original 
board member ofAIVF. 

©Lawrence Loewinger 1986 



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THE INDEPENDENT 15 



Micki McGee 




MAKO IDEMITSU 
PSYCHODRAMAS 




Mama gazes lovingly at the electronic image of her son Hideo in 
one of Idemitsu's oedipal visions of modern Japanese women. 

Photo; Manta Sturken courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix 




16 THE INDEPENDEHT 



In the living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, 
and kitchens of homes throughout the industri- 
alized world, families gather around the televi- 
sion set, occasionally speaking to one another at 
the commercial breaks or commenting on char- 
acters as the broadcast continues. In apartments 
and other homes, people leave the TV running, a 
constant companion, an electronic salve for the 
isolation of those living alone. The characters in 
the serials and sitcoms, dramas and comedies, 
come to inhabit our lives and are afforded a con- 
cern and importance once reserved for relatives 
or friends who actually shared the spaces of our 
homes and communities. The supermarket week- 
lies keep us abreast of their lives, loves, successes, 
and failures. Relatively new programs such as 
Entertainment Tonight and Lifestyles of the 
Rich and Famous televise the "real-life" stories 
of those who appear in the fictional dramas dur- 
ing other time slots or on different channels. The 
distinctions between the celebrities' lives and 
their roles are blurred, just as the distinction be- 
tween our daily lives and their spectacular 
televised lives is obscured. 

While in the U.S. the extended electronic fam- 
ily comes to us in the form of Dynasty or All My 
Children, for the Japanese viewer the program 
to watch is Kinyobi-no Tsumatachi — KyoniKoi- 
niochi-para [Friday Wives: If One Falls in 
Love. . .]. Friday Wives, an ongoing series of 
12-episode melodramas revolving around the il- 
licit romances and domestic difficulties of sev- 
eral suburban families, enjoys 35 percent of the 
viewing audience, making it the highest rated 
show on Japanese television. The program 
screens Friday evenings at 9 p.m., geared to an 
audience composed mainly of housewives who 
wait at home on Friday evenings for husbands 
who stay out late drinking with co-workers. 

In a fall 1985 episode of If One Falls in Love, 
the opening scene shows a recently married cou- 
ple enjoying an intimate moment on the patio of 
their suburban home. They're joking and talk- 
ing while she's cleaning the wax out of his ears. 
(While cleaning one's ears is solitary grooming 
behavior among Westerners, for the Japanese 
it's a familial activity, no more unusual than a 
wife tying a husband's necktie.) Ears cleaned, 
the husband grabs the wife, pushes her head 
down onto his lap and begins probing her ear 
with a Q-Tip-like device for this purpose. She 
shrieks and protests with an expression more ap- 
propriate to an assault than an affectionate inter- 
change. At that moment their grade school-age 
children — her son and his daughter, each by pre- 
vious marriages — wander into the adjacent kit- 
chen. They stand behind the couple, witnessing 
this cleaned-up-for-prime-time primal scene. 
The son is visibly disturbed, and his subsequent 
pouting and tantrums compel the couple to 
restrain their affection for the sake of domestic 

APRIL 1986 



harmony. Not until a final scene in this episode, 
when the son smiles approval at the couple 
who've been trying to restrain their affection, 
can they once again feel free to assume a loving 
posture toward one another in their own home. 
While to a Western viewer the idea that a child's 
oedipal rivalry would be allowed to so constrain 
his parents' behavior seems absurd, to the 
Japanese viewer this is not much more unusual 
than intimate ear cleaning rituals. 

That this is one of the three major themes in 
an hour-long show on Japanese broadcast tele- 
vision should give some indication of the 
mother-son relationship in Japanese society. 
This is a culture where women typically marry 
before the age of 25 (a popular riddle asks, 
"How are girls like Christmas cakes?"; answer: 
"They go well before the twenty-fifth, but after 
that they are hard to get rid of) and "retire" 
from the workforce between 26 and 29, in order 
to devote themselves to childrearing and house- 
hold responsibilities.* Children, sons in par- 
ticular, bear the tremendous burden of providing 
vicarious achievement for their mothers. With 
husbands working six-day work weeks, often re- 
turning home after 11 p.m., or — in the case 
of "salarymen" — sent abroad for one- or two- 
year assignments at sites around the globe, a 
woman marries a husband, but lives for and 
through her children. It is against this cultural 
background that one must view the socially criti- 
cal melodramas of video artist Mako Idemitsu. 

Since 1973 Idemitsu has been exploring the 
psychology of Japanese women and their famil- 
ies. Four early works — Shadows, Parts land II 
and Animus, Parts I and II — draw on Jungian 
concepts to investigate aspects of the female per- 
sonality that are sometimes suppressed, some- 
times repressed. In Shadows, Part II a number 
of housewives gossip, projecting onto other 
women those aspects of themselves they find un- 
acceptable. In Shadows, Part /women were ask- 
ed simply to reveal some part of themselves they 
usually conceal. Some responses were poetic: 
one woman tears apart roses petal by petal and 
then pins them back together. Others were more 
literal: a woman attempts to draw, while in the 
background another monitor reveals her in a 
more acceptable role as a housewife ironing her 
clothes. Later, in Animus, Parts I and II, Idemit- 
su attempts to show the aggressive energy of the 
Jungian inner man who judges, polemicizes, and 
criticizes in a fashion unbecoming to a feminine 
woman. In these tapes Idemitsu attempted — 
with varying degrees of success— the difficult 
task of representing abstractions, psychological 



'Although 69 percent of women age 20-24 are 
employed in the Japanese workforce, this figure 
drops to well below 50 percent in the 25-35 age 
group. Figures courtesy of the Public Information 
and Cultural Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs, Japan, and the Statistics Bureau, Manage- 
ment and Coordination Agency, Japan. 

APRIL 1986 



constructs that bear only a schematic relation- 
ship to actual human behavior. But in 1983, with 
Hideo-chan, Mama-Yo [Hideo, Dear, It's Your 
Mama], Idemitsu began to concentrate on con- 
crete social relationships in a series of scenarios 
examining typical family situations. 

Hideo-chan opens with a shot of a middle- 
aged Japanese woman turning on the television 
set on her kitchen table. Rather than a morning 
talk show or game show, she tunes in the image 
of an adolescent boy sleeping. She nudges him 
from his sleep, "Hideo, dear, it's your mother. 
Time to get up, breakfast is ready." She serves 
breakfast to the monitor image of the boy while 
her husband sits down to breakfast and his mor- 
ning paper. Not a word passes between the hus- 
band and wife as he eats and she gazes lovingly at 
the video image of Hideo eating breakfast. After 
her husband departs, she reminds her son, 
"Mama lives for you, Hideo-chan, only you." 
To this soliloquy, disguised as dialogue, there 
can be no reply. Hideo, pictured in the inner 
monitor, continues dressing and leaves, saying 
only, "I'm going." At this point his video image 
is replaced by that electronic signifier of absence, 
television snow. 

With Hideo off to school or work (his age and 
destination are purposefully ambiguous), 
Mama's obsession becomes aggravated by his 
absence. She has no other recourse than resort- 
ing to electronic means of reconstructing him. 
First she phones him, ostensibly concerned 
about his health. But when he rebukes her for 
calling him at work, she returns to a videotape of 
Hideo performing calisthenics, occasionally 
caressing the monitor. 

The tape continues with incident after incident 
showing Mama worrying about her son's health 
and welfare — preparing yet another meal for 
Hideo's video image. When her husband returns 
home, she comments, "You're early; the water's 
not hot," referring to the nightly bath typically 
prepared by a housewife for her husband. She's 
neglecting her wifely duties, instead preoccupied 
with reviewing applications of prospective brides 
for Hideo. "More brides you've rejected," 
Hideo's father says. She defends herself, "He's 
too young to get married . . . girls are too ag- 
gressive these days . . . can't have him trapped by 
a mere secretary." (Omiyai, arranged marriages, 
are still common in Japan. Single men and 
women review rounds of resumes and photos in 
search of the most suitable partner.) Hideo's 
father is annoyed by his wife's meddling. Again 
she protests, "I'll take care of him." And her 
husband replies, "Then who'll take care of 
me?" — a question that points toward the final 
scene in the tape, where her complete fixation on 
Hideo motivates her to leave home in order to 
live closer to her grown son. 

We are appropriately spared the probably 
blissless reunion of mother and son. Just as the 
opening of the tape — "Hideo, dear, it's your 
mother. . ." — succinctly expresses her demand 



for recognition in her role as mother, practically 
the only role permitted her in Japanese society, 
by the tape's end we are left with the futility of 
this woman's desire to possess her son. Through- 
out the melodrama he's out of reach: he never 
appears in the same frame with his mother. In- 
stead, he's locked away from her reach, behind 
the barrier of the television screen. His absence 
is the precise image of the futility of her desire. 
Like the celebrity who signifies the fan's dreams 
and ambitions — what one can't have or can't 
be — the unreachable and untouchable Hideo be- 
comes the power that eludes her. As the final 
term in that Freudian baby = phallus equation, 
Hideo is his mother's only route to power in a 
mother- worshipping, yet misogynist culture that 
blocks almost all avenues for female initiative. 

After completing Hideo-chan, Idemitsu be- 
gan a series of tapes that explore the complex 
mother-daughter relationship, where each 
struggles for an identity within a patriarchal cul- 
ture. In Great Mother, Parti, Harumi, a school- 
girl refuses to go to school, locking herself in her 
bedroom despite her mother's coaxing and cajol- 
ing. Above the head of Harumi 's bed a monitor 
shows a restrained kimono-clad woman kneeling 
calmly and gazing downward — that ideal of 
serene Japanese womanhood held up as a re- 
proach against Harumi 's tantrum. 

Later, mother again entreats daughter to go to 
school. When Harumi refuses, they begin fight- 
ing, throwing food on the kitchen table. On a 
monitor in the rear of the scene the two are 
dressed in kimonos, with Harumi resting her 
head in her mother's lap while the mother 
strokes her hair. The intimacy and eroticism of 
that primary mother-daughter relation provides 
the background for Harumi's urgent need to dif- 
ferentiate herself from her mother. Behind her 
rebellion and disdain for her mother lies the fear 
of being swallowed up in that sometimes blissful, 
sometimes infuriating, selfless pre-oedipal 
union. 

At father's return home, the competition be- 
tween the women becomes clear. At dinner, 
when Harumi's father brings up the touchy sub- 
ject of school, she informs him that she got a top 
grade on an exam, much to her mother's cha- 
grin. "Why don't you tell me anything?" she 
scolds, and, in the background, a monitor shows 
two kimono-clad women wrestling. In the battle 
for father's attention, Harumi is winning when 
he suggests the two of them go out for a sundae. 
Curiously, Harumi refuses, impertinently reply- 
ing, "Your wife is hysterical because you leave her 
alone." Another food-throwing fight ensues as the 
women on the inner monitor continue to wrestle. 

A very different mother-daughter struggle 
takes place in Great Mother, Part II, Yumiko. 
Yumiko's highly successful, self-possessed 
mother is never absent as Yumiko picks up a 
young man on the street, goes home with him, 
and not long afterward gives birth to his child. 
Despite her rebellion from her bourgeois up- 

THE INDEPENDENT 17 




Harumi can't escape from the spectre of traditional Japanese womanhood, from a tape in 
the "Great Mother" series. 

Photo: Mania Sturken, courtesy'Eleclronic Arts Intermix 




While the Ignored Takao drinks in sullen silence, wife Sachiko and her mother make dinner 
and conversation in the video monitor beneath the table. 

Photo Mania Sturken. courtesy Electronic Arts Inierm.'x 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1986 



bringing, Yumiko doesn't escape the scrutinizing 
gaze of her mother that she has incorporated as 
her superego. While she lies on her lover's futon 
a video monitor shows her mother's face gazing 
down on them. While she prepares a simple meal 
of rice and canned tuna in his tiny apartment, the 
video monitor shows mother and daughter at 
home preparing a meal in an idealized kitchen. 
When Yumiko leaves her family's elegant home 
to raise a child in a single six-mat room with her 
new husband, the romance quickly vanishes and 
her immaturity loses its charm. Quarreling over 
the volume of a baseball game that wakens the 
baby, Yumiko's husband yells, "You're from 
such a good family, why don't you depend on 
them? I'm not your father." More accurately, he 
might have said, "I'm not your mother," since 
it's her mother's emotionless reserve from which 
she seeks refuge in these marital dramatics. 

When Yumiko eventually takes her child and 
returns to her parental home, her mother re- 
mains gracious. Yumiko is the helpless one: in a 
moment of almost embarrassing infantilization, 
Yumiko, sitting on the floor, asks her mother, 
who's seated higher on the sofa, if she can be ex- 
cused. But in the next shot she's in another 
young man's room asserting her independence, 
if only in sexual adventure. At the conclusion of 
the melodrama none of the conflicts are resolv- 
ed, but Yumiko's mother — ever responsible, 
ever competent — phones a professional, 
presumably a psychiatrist, through whose 
"scientific knowledge" they might be able to 
come to some mutual understanding. 

Yumiko and Harumi rebel in their attempts to 
distinguish themselves from their mothers. 
Sachiko, the third tape in the Great Mother 
series, shows a mother and daughter who share 
such an intimate camaraderie that Sachiko's 
husband Takao feels excluded, drinks to excess, 
and abuses Sachiko. When Takao and Sachiko 
are shown making love missionary-style, 
silhouetted against the gazing video image of her 
mother, the completely detached Sachiko asks, 
"Are you through?" as she rolls out from under 
him. In the next shot, mother and daughter are 
reunited in the kitchen. 

This shot of Sachiko and her mother prepar- 
ing food together is then repeated in a monitor 
set under a glass-topped Japanese-style table 
where mother, daughter, and husband gather for 
dinner. In an overhead shot, mother and daugh- 
ter appear to be talking about his drinking and 
violence as if he weren't present. He sits, pouring 
whiskey (unheard of in a country where fellow 
diners always pour each other's liquor), as the 
two women eat and talk. Eventually the audi- 
ence realizes that the audio for this sequence 
comes from the monitor set into the table, from 
the women in the kitchen. Sachiko tells her 
mother she's glad she doesn't have any chil- 
dren — her mother is company enough for 
her — as Takao becomes progressively more in- 
ebriated. If, as psychoanalysis suggests, what- 



ever remains unresolved in a mother /daughter 
relationship returns in the husband/wife rela- 
tionship, then all the potential hostility of these 
two women is conveniently displaced onto Ta- 
kao, who is ignored except when he's openly 
hostile or abusive. Mother and daughter enjoy 
an "ideal" insular relationship, isolated as they 
are in the tightly framed "under the table" image 
of them in their own terrain, the kitchen. Takao 
can never enter this frame, never share the in- 
timacy of women, when even his proximity is 
perceived as an invasion. 

While Takao can never enter the inner moni- 
tor, Hideo is never pictured outside the inner 
monitor. Hideo is consistently separated from 
his mother and father by the glass barrier of the 
screen. Idemitsu uses the monitor within the shot 
to isolate Hideo, the unattainable object of his 
mother's desire. In The Great Mother tapes the 
inner monitor shows the mother and daughter 
together, fighting, cooking, talking, in each 
other's arms. The problem for Hideo, and his 
mother, is her futile grasping at the power he 
represents, the problem for the three daughters 
of the Great Mother series is their inability to 
escape their mothers' influence and the limita- 
tions of their mothers' lives. In their similarities, 
in their like-bodies, they are trapped together in 
the monitor. Even when Yumiko and Sachiko 
are away from their mothers — in the arms of 
lovers or husbands — there is always the mother 
looking on, silent and stern, the unescapable 
harsh superego of the mother introjected by the 
daughter. 

These women's problems rest in their inability 
to escape their mothers' influence. Hideo's prob- 
lem will be his inability to find another woman as 
devoted as his mother. Any woman he marries 
will be a disappointment, particularly if she bears 
sons and devotes herself to them, rather than to 
him. He, and his non-fictional counterparts, will 
never be able to recapture the bliss of Japanese 
boyhoods. 

In A Husband A Wife A Lover, an earlier 
Idemitsu portrait of an affair, the straying hus- 
band and his lover are pictured in bed, while a 
monitor just above and behind them shows him 
at home, watching a baseball game on TV while 
his wife serves dinner. In the foreground the 
"other woman," the lover, fantasizes aloud 
about their future together when he divorces his 
wife. "We'll go on our honeymoon to Hawaii," 
she rhapsodizes when the camera zooms into the 
husband-wife monitor, where the wife com- 
plains, "We're still paying for that trip to 
Hawaii, we can't even afford a new crib for our 
baby. . .we have to accept a used one. ... It's 
embarrassing. " A new lover may temporarily of- 
fer that oceanic bliss sans responsibility, but just 
beyond lurks the spectre of adult responsibility, 
society with its exchanges of marriage and 
money and obligations of fidelity and remunera- 
tion. 

A traditional melodrama frames the charac- 



ter's conflicts as personal problems, the prob- 
lems of individuals. In contrast, Idemitsu's nar- 
ratives, with their consciously stereotypical 
situations and the visual commentary presented 
in the inner monitors, pose the problems as 
social: conflicts unavoidable in a society where 
women are for the most part restricted to rocking 
the cradle, while men attempt to continue to rule 
the world.* The typical TV soap opera resolves 
these "personal conflicts" with a sudden out- 
burst, changes of heart, divorce or separation, or 
leaves the audience suspended, waiting for that 
tune-in-again-next-week resolution. Idemitsu's 
melodramas, with their minimal plots, offer no 
image of resolution this week or next. The only 
solution for Idemitsu's characters would be to 
acknowledge and understand the images within 
the monitors embedded in her tapes. Her 
characters, unconscious as they are, are unlikely 
to reach even interim solutions as long as they 
perceive their conflicts as individual dilemmas, 
rather than as symptoms of larger social con- 
flicts. Hopefully, however, viewers of her work 
will see their own social relations reflected in 
these works and examine the underlying condi- 
tions which produce these situations. 

Unfortunately, the Japanese audiences that 
would most enjoy and appreciate Idemitsu's 
video melodramas have had limited opportuni- 
ties to see this work. Although Idemitsu's tapes 
have screened in Tokyo's Scan Gallery and have 
been shown widely in Europe, Australia, and the 
United States, so far NHK (Japan's public televi- 
sion) has indicated little interest in making the 
work available to a broadcast audience. This 
reluctance to program her work may stem as 
much from the fact that she's a woman who has 
stepped out of her role as a housewife in produc- 
ing these tapes as from her critical observations 
about the Japanese family. Hopefully, Idemitsu's 
work will not remain another instance of intel- 
ligent, critical Japanese culture that is well- 
received abroad and all but ignored at home. 

Micki McGee has written about media for Her- 
esies, Fuse, and Afterimage. She lived and work- 
ed in Japan from 1983 to 1985. 

© Micki McGee 1986 



*Dorothy Dinnerstein makes an eloquent argument 
for the far reaching implications of women's role as 
the primary caretakers of infants in The Mermaid 
and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Hum- 
an Malaise (New York: Harper and Row, 1976). 



APRIL 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 19 



A LITTLE SOMETHING 
ON NARRATIVITY 



Jill Godmilow 



When Mark came home that night Jill was sitting 
at the kitchen table, weeping. "What's the mat- 
ter, baby?" he asked. Jill literally wrung her 
hands as she spoke. 

"I'm supposed to speak on a panel tonight 
about the nature of narrativity, and I don't know 
what to say." 

"Another narrativity panel?" Mark teased. 

Jill burst into tears. Mark was alarmed. He sat 
down on her lap and tried to comfort her. 

"Darling," he said, "you know what nar- 
rativity's all about. You've been using it for 42 
years. Every time you tell a story you make a nar- 
rative. So does everybody." 

"I know that," Jill barked. "The question is 
why do we tell stories, and what does that have to 
do with film?" 

Mark got off her lap and sat down in the chair 
across from her. 

"I'm not sure," he said, "but I think it has 
something to do with organizing meaning out of 
chaos. When you tell a story, you order the 
events and thereby impute meaning to them." 

"That's part of it," Jill agreed. She thought 
for a moment. "I think it's a way to rationalize the 
basic paradoxical horror of human existence." 

"And what is the basic paradoxical horror of 
human existence?" Mark asked. 

"Well, there's this animal — man. Man's the 
only animal in the world who knows about and 
can anticipate his own death, and, therefore, his 



own insignificance. Every day of his life man 
fights like hell to stay alive — by mastering the 
physical universe so that he can have enough to 
eat so that he can find a safe place to sleep so that 
he can wake up the next day and go on living. 
And all the time he's worrying about why he's 
doing this, because he knows he's going to die 
someday. That's the basic paradoxical horror of 
human existence." 

Mark murmured an inaudible assent as he 
chewed on a pretzel. 

Jill warmed to the subject, "So what do we do 
for relief? We search for ways to make meaning 
out of our lives ... to find significance ... to 
order the chaos of existence. Why? So that when 
we die we will feel our lives have not been for 
nought. So how do we make meaning out of our 
lives? By telling stories. We take the arbitrariness 
of what's happened to us, what's happening to 
us, and what will happen to us, and order it into 
a narrative. Which is to say, we tell a story. 

"Some people who are really ambitious and 
really worried about being insignificant write 
these stories down, so at least the stories can go 
on living after the death of the animal. Even 
more ambitious people — those who are even 
more worried about their insignificance — make 
movies out of these stories. These movies then go 
on living a very life-like life after the death of the 
animal." 

Jill's tears had dried by now. 

"That's all fine," said Mark, popping out of 
his chair and heating up some coffee on the 
stove. He could see it was going to be a long 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



theoretical discussion, and he was tired. He 
knew Jill was out of cocaine, and he'd left his at 
home. "But why are all narratives the same? 
And how do they work?" 

"That's simple," Jill answered. "All nar- 
ratives start with a lack and therefore, with the 
promise of the fulfillment of that lack. Here's the 
beginning of a simple narrative: 'Two men set 
off across a valley.' The lack in this narrative is 
the lack of knowledge. Why did they set out? 
What were they looking for? What did they 
find? Did they survive? The listener wants to 
know the answers simply because he's heard all 
those questions in the sentence, 'Two men set 
off across a valley.' Now, here's a complete nar- 
rative: 'Two men set off across a valley, had 
many adventures, and returned home safely.' 
The end of this narrative fulfills the promise 
made at the beginning ... not very entertainingly, 
but all the questions asked are answered by the 
end. The middle part is 'had many adventures.'" 

Mark spoke up. "But that doesn't really ex- 
plain why anybody listens or why they put up 
with the delays." 

Jill had four answers ready. "First," she said, 
"they listen because they anticipate the joy of 
recognizing the answer when it appears — that 
moment when the promise is fulfilled, when 
things work out, when the lack is restored. Sec- 
ond, they listen simply because they have been 
addressed by the storyteller, or filmmaker, in 
their own language, and the viewer, recognizing 
it as his own, finds it difficult to refuse to engage. 
Third, the storyteller uses pseudo-psychology to 

APRIL 1986 




Thalia Painting Theo, an allegory 
of wisdom and folly. 

Photo. Mark Magill and Jill Godmilow 



fashion his characters' normative morality to in- 
vent the events of the story, and pseudo-logic to 
resolve all the paradoxes and answer all the ques- 
tions invoked at the beginning of the story. 
Fourth, people listen to stories because the 
delaying tactics in the middle of the story are 
titillating. Listeners take pleasure in the titillating 
middle because they know they're going to get 
what they want in the end. It's sort of like 
holding off an orgasm when you know you're 
going to come." 

Mark was silent for a moment. He looked 
confused. He went into the bathroom, took off 
his shoes, his socks, his pants, his hat, his jacket, 
all his underwear, filled the tub full of steaming 
hot water, added some bath salts, lit a cigar, and 
lowered his body into the soup. He soaked for 
about five minutes, then got out of the bath, put 
on clean clothes, including his new Agnes B. 
shirt and his Commes les Garcons trousers, pol- 
ished his shoes, combed his hair, and walked 
back into the kitchen where Jill was still sitting at 
the table, scribbling on a yellow pad. 

"So what's the problem with narrativity?" 
Mark asked. 

"Nothing really," said Jill. "It's just an an- 
cient form that artists are beginning to mess 
around with." 

"Why?" 

Jill looked down at her notes. "If you tell a 
story where the listener can see both the process 
of storytelling as well as the story itself, the whole 
thing is much more open and exciting." 

"For whom?" 



"For the storyteller and the audience. You see, 
the text is thicker. It's got two levels of meaning 
instead of one, and neither can dominate so 
neither can be resolved. It's also got two kinds of 
time: the time of the story and time of the 
storytelling. These two interact and make the 
listener aware of listening. It's psychologically 
less surreptitious, because the audience can see 
that the meaning of the story is a construc- 
tion. . .made out of words, or — in the case of 
movies — made out of bits of picture and sound 
... a construction to be considered by the listen- 
er and not the goddamn truth about life." 

She did not go into the whole problem of how 
traditional narrative reinforces cultural, polit- 
ical, and economic status quos. That would take 
all night. 

"That all sounds very good," Mark piped in, 
"but I think you play around with narrativity 
because it makes you look smart and feel smart." 

Jill unhappily had to agree that she liked look- 
ing smart. She was unhappy about agreeing to this 
because she considered herself a very serious per- 
son and serious persons weren't supposed to get 
off on things like looking smart and being smart. 
She sat there gloomily, searching for the signi- 
ficance of it all. 

Then she got up and went into the bathroom. 
She ran a hot tub for herself, then took off her 
shoes and socks, her T-shirt, her pants, her watch, 
all of her underwear, and everything else she had 
on. She lit a cigarette and lowered herself into the 
water, where she lay for a while deep in thought, 
then began to doze. A few minutes later Mark 



came into the room to brush his teeth. 

"So," he said, "did you figure out what you're 
going to say on the panel tonight?" 

"Yes," she said drowsily, "I'm going to tell a 
story." 

"About what?" Mark asked. 

"About narrativity," she said in a barely audi- 
ble voice, then drifted back to sleep. 

Later than evening, Jill put on fresh underwear, 
her favorite light blue shirt, her new Norma Ka- 
mali skirt, her blackr boots, combed her hair, 
changed her earrings, and set out across a valley, 
where she had many adventures and then returned 
home safely. 

Note: This article is based on a presentation given 
at the Independent Feature Project's "Problems 
of Narrativity" panel on October 15, 1985. 

SOURCES 

Bill Nichols, Ideology and Image (Bloomington: In- 
diana University Press, 1981). 

Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil (New York: Free 
Press, 1975). 

conversations with Mark Magill 

Jill Godmilow is an independent filmmaker 
who, during the past 19 years, has primarily pro- 
duced documentaries. She is currently preparing 
to direct her first feature film, On the Trail of the 
Lonesome Pine, based on a script coauthored 
with Mark Magill. 

©Jil] Godmilow 1986 



APRIL 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



21 



Some Ruminations around 
Cinematic Antidotes to the Oedipal 
Net(les) while Playing with 
De Lauraedipus Mulvey, or, He May 
Be Off Screen, but. . . 



Yvonne Rainer 



The Audience is once more perplexed after view- 
ing my last film, The Man Who Envied Women 
(TMWEW). 1 Some of them are once again ask- 
ing, "What does she believe? Where in this 
welter of ideas, aphorisms, opinions, quota- 
tions, ironies, rhetoric, collisions, is her voice? 
Are there really no arguments to follow, no 
resolutions or conclusions to be gleaned from 
this overload? Are the meanings so embedded in 
ambiguity that even the most assiduous concen- 
tration is unable to dredge them up, with the 
various discourses eventually neutralizing each 
other?" (The Audience of my daydreams, like 
the voices of my films, is very gabby.) 

I hope not. I am not an iconoclast bent on de- 
stroying all vestiges of "authorial discourse." 
(As a "lapsed" anarchist, I am only too aware 
that when it comes to authority our choices are 
merely better or worse compromises.) On the 
contrary, I would like to believe that I subject 
such discourses to pressures and tests, or disloca- 
tions, e.g., a removal from their ordinary con- 
texts — the printed page, the classroom, or the 
formal lecture — to unexpected physical and psy- 
chic spaces. The space of real estate profiteering, 
for instance, or the space of seduction, or the 
space of sexual (mis)representation. 

In many ways, TMWEW lies outside tradi- 
tional narrative cinema. There is no plot, for in- 
stance, and although the voice of the (absent) 
female protagonist can be construed as a nar- 
rator, this voice departs from convention by re- 
fusing to push a story forward or promote a 
singular thesis that would tie up the various 
strands. In the struggle for the film's truth this 
equivocal, invisible heroine is not always the vic- 
tor. Consequently, in relation to the social issues 
broached within the film, the question of an ex- 
ternally imposed, predetermined and determin- 



ing coherence looms very large for some. If the 
process of identification with the trajectory of 
fictional characters is thwarted, we look for op- 
portunities to identify with an extra-diagetic 
author or ultimate voice "behind" the film, if 
not camera. We are still not fluent in reading 
films that, while seeming to proffer this identifi- 
cation process, undermine it at the same time by 
setting other processes in motion, processes that 
involve a more detached kind of recognition and 
engagement. Rather than repositioning our- 
selves as spectators in response to cues that indi- 
cate we are being multivocally addressed and not 
just worked on by the filmic text, we still attempt 
to locate a singular author or wait for a con- 
clusive outcome. The Master's Voice Syndrome 
all over again. And why not? Why else do we go 
to see narrative cinema than to be confirmed and 
reinforced in our most atavistic and oedipal 
mind-sets? 

Well, now that I've so precipitously catapulted 
us into the psychoanalytic soup, I have to admit 
that I'm not entirely satisfied with the model of 
spectatorship so flippantly refashioned here. For 
one thing, who the hell is this "we"? Can this in- 
dolent pronoun possibly account for the people 
who like the movies I myself make? Let's say it 
includes some or all of us some of the time, or 
enough of us enough of the time for me to justi- 
fy, within limits, my own cinematic practice. 

But there is another reason for invoking this 
spectre/spectator, and that is to question its sex- 
ual homogeneity. Over a decade of feminist film 
theory has taught us the importance of splitting 
this undifferentiated pronominal mass into two, 
if not more, component parts. Let us now speak 
of male and female spectators. The "we" further 
unravels when "we" think about stories and 
storytelling. The stories we love the most are 
those that appeal to our deepest and earliest fears 
and desires that modulate and determine our 
placement in society as more, or less, successful 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



adult men and women. The question has come 
to be asked (and must continue to be asked inas- 
much as those with more power and privilege are 
always inclined to erase both question and 
answers): within these stories, quoting from 
Teresa De Lauretis's "Desire in Narrative," 

. . . whose desire is it that speaks, and whom 
does that desire address? The received inter- 
pretations of the Oedipus story, Freud's among 
others, leave no doubt. The desire is Oedipus's, 
and though its object may be woman (or Truth 
or knowledge or power), its term of reference 
and address is man: man as social being and 
mythical subject, founder of the social, and 
source of mimetic violence. . . . 2 

. . . [man as] hero, constructed as human . . . the 
active principle of culture, the establisher of 
distinction, the creator of differences. Female is 
what is not susceptible to transformation, to 
life or death; she (it) is an element of plot- 
space. . .a resistance, matrix, and matter. 3 

Monster and landscape, she adds elsewhere, 
Sphinx, Medusa, ovum, earth, nature, Sleeping 
Beauty, etc. 

Given that Oedipus killed his father and mar- 
ried his mother, it can be said that 

. . . the crime of Oedipus is the destruction of 
differences and that the combined work of 
myth and narrative is the production of 
Oedipus... a mapping of differences, and 
specifically, first and foremost, of sexual dif- 
ference into each text . . . 4 

The consequence for the reader/spectator is that 

each reader — male or female — is constrained 
and defined within the two positions of a sexual 
difference thus conceived: male-hero-human, 
on the side of the subject; and female-obstacle- 
boundary-space [on the side of the object] . 

She elaborates : 

. . .in its "making sense" of the world, nar- 

APRIL 1986 




rative endlessly reconstructs it as a two- 
character drama in which the human person 
creates and recreates himself out of an abstract 
or purely symbolic other — the womb, the earth, 
the grave, the woman .... The drama has the 
movement of a passage, a crossing, an actively 
experienced transformation of the human being 
into — man. This is the sense in which all 
change, all social and personal — even physical 
— transformation is finally understood. 5 

Another question that has subsequently arisen 
is, "What's in it for us ladies?" Do we (ladies) go 
to the movies to put our minds in the hands of 
our various Daddies — benign, malevolent, 
whatever? The oppressed often have a very curi- 
ous relation to those in power, a perverse iden- 
tification with the power they lack. Why else 
would a black taxi driver justify his voting for 
Reagan with "I want to be on the side that's go- 
ing to win?" One of my earliest movie-going 
memories is recounted in Film About a Woman 
Who. . . : 

She catches herself snorting gleefully at the 
scene of the two women being totally bitchy to 
one another. She remembers a similar scene — 
was it Dorothy Lamour or Betty Grable? — in a 
movie she saw when she was no more than 9 or 
10. One woman had ripped another woman's 
dress off. She had stayed in the movie theater 
long after her friends had left until that scene 
came around again. And she must have felt 
guilty about it, because she never told anybody, 
not her mother, nor anybody. 6 

During this speech, which is uttered by a 
female voiceover, we are looking at a snapshot of 
an elderly woman sitting in a field. I have no idea 
what the original movie was other than its 
source, Hollywood, and the approximate year, 
1944. I can account for my pleasure in watching 
that scene as vicarious satisfaction in the erup- 
tion of female anger on the screen, an anger that 
I was not permitted to express in my own family. 



Right now, however, I am more interested in 
looking at my response as an example of male 
sadistic identification. The spectacle of two 
women fighting over a man provoked in me the 
pleasure that was clearly intended for the male 
spectator who would "naturally" identify with 
the absent (from the scene) male character they 
were fighting over. I don't remember rooting for 
either woman, neither the one who would even- 
tually "get her man" nor her rival. The perversity 
of the situation was that I took pleasure in the 
humiliation of both women. Like the taxi driver, 
I was identifying with the power of the actual 
"winner," the man, rather than with those with 
whom I shared the same psycho-social dis- 
franchisement, the women. 

How does this response, or my interpretation 
of it, mesh with De Lauretis's 

... If women spectators are to buy their tickets 
and their popcorn, the work of cinema, unlike 
"the aim of biology," may be said to require 
women's consent; and we may well suspect the 
narrative cinema in particular must be aimed, 
like desire, toward seducing women into 
femininity [emphasis added].' 

Or with Laura Mulvey's citation of Freud's 
argument about female sexuality as "an oscilla- 
tion between 'passive' femininity and regressive 
'masculinity'" in her effort to account for 

. . .the female spectator's phantasy of mascu- 
linization [which] is always to some extent at 
cross purposes with itself, restless in its trans- 
vestite clothes." 

They are both pointing to a double identifica- 
tion. De Lauretis further specifies the figures of 
narrative (movement of the male subject) and 
image (narrative closure/the space and body of 
the female object, as exerting, in and of them- 
selves, a dual hold on the female spectator. 

I have no doubt that I dutifully identified with 
the more passive, feminine "desire to be 



Yvonne Rainer and Wil- 
liam Raymond enact an 
incestuous dream in 
Rainer's "The Man Who 
Envied Women." 

Production still Abigail Heyman 



desired," in De Lauretis's words, at other point: 
in my 1940s oedipal drama. (And, as a story of 
one woman replacing another, it was quintessen- 
tially oedipal, a recapitulation of the classical 
Freudian account of male normative sexual de- 
velopment, with its demand for successful re- 
pression of infantile desire conflated with the 
mother.) But those were not the scenes that kept 
me in that theater until they came around again. 
Auguring calamitous consequences in my adult 
life, it was the scene of the two women fighting 
each other that gripped me most, a scene that 
almost 30 years later would be transformed and 
played out as a real life melodrama of internal- 
ized misogyny in my private life. In patriarchal 
terms, I was a wash-out. It wasn't that I had 
refused to be seduced into dancing on the oedi- 
pal stage. I had simply gone to sleep and missed 
all my cues. Even the prince's kiss could not 
awaken me. I refused to wake up, and that is 
what nearly did me in. If the Medusa had not 
been sleeping in her cave, could Perseus have 
slain her? Must it always be either the prince or 
Perseus who gets you in the end? Here's another 
story: 

On October 25, 1896, on the night after the 
funeral of his father Jakob, Sigmund Freud had 
a dream. "I found myself in a shop where there 
was a notice [Tafel, German for tablet (of the 
law) or table] saying 'You are requested to close 
the eyes' ...."' Using Marie Balmary's intri- 
cately fashioned key from her Psychoanalyzing 
Psychoanalysis, we can interpret this dream as 
an "injunction to 'close an eye' to the faults of 
the deceased." What might these faults have 
been? 

Preceding his father's death, Freud was col- 
lecting indisputable evidence that pointed to the 
father as the cause of hysterical symptoms in the 
child. His theory of seduction was not well-re- 
ceived by the Viennese medical community. 
Within 11 months after his father's death, he 



APRIL 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 23 



emerged from depression and mourning only to 
"close an eye" to his accumulated evidence via 
the Oedipus complex, his new theory that re- 
pudiated his patients' stories by consigning them 
to the realm of repressed unconscious desire. 
With his father's death he laid to rest his own un- 
conscious knowledge of his father's unacknowl- 
edged past. Rather than two marriages there had 
been three. The town records of Freiberg reveal a 
second marriage to Rebecca, a mystery woman 
who is unrecognized in official Freud biogra- 
phies. The fate of this wife and marriage remains 
undocumented. Balmary speculates that she 
committed suicide just before or just after 
Freud's birth. 

Oedipus and Freud's theory conjoin as myth 
to conceal the "hidden fault of the father." 
Oedipus's father Laius had seduced his (Laius's) 
half-brother, Chrysippus, who later committed 
suicide "from shame." Freud's "closing his 
eyes" to Jakob's part in Rebecca's suicide 
(seducer and abandonner) is reenacted in his ig- 
noring the part Laius played in the Oedipus myth 
(first as seducer of Chrysippus and later as vio- 
lator of the gods' injunction against procre- 
ation), and is echoed yet again in the attitude 
psychoanalysis brings to the afflicted patient: 
"The fault is your desire rather than that of your 
father." And rather than that of The Fathers, or 
patriarchal society. 

To varying degrees and from early on, all of us 
can characterize our lives as a struggle between 
closing and opening our eyes, sleeping and wak- 
ing, knowing and refusing to know. If, as De 
Lauretis and Mulvey say, women oscillate be- 
tween masculine and feminine positions of spec- 
tatorship and identification, then it must be said 
that we also oscillate between knowing and not 
knowing that this is what we do. It is not the first 
oscillation that is in itself dangerous, but rather a 
state of ignorance of that oscillation that will 
permit Oedipus (used here to stand for the domi- 
nance of men's faults, fears, and desires) in some 
form or another to do you in. My archetypal 
Hollywood Oedipus waited off -screen to claim 
his true love in what was for my nine-year-old 
spectator a no-win situation, a rigged game in 
which the precondition for participation as a 
female was the willingness to lose. My pleasure 
was that of a sleepwalker dreaming a dream of 
perennial tomboyhood. A more bitter reality 
lurked in the wings: the father I could neither 
have nor become, already prompting dialogue 
from the scenario governing the next phase of 
my feminine life. But this last was a story that no 
one was telling, therefore one which I could not 
know. 

By now it must be more than clear that one 
does not have to probe very far into the psycho- 
analytic uses of Oedipus to find a phallocentric 
bias in both myth and theory. The terms of the 
oedipal formation of the human subject and its 
cultural expressions all seem to come down on 
one side, whether we're talking about women as 

24 THE INDEPENDENT 







Top: Amy Schewel in 
conversation with Mark 
Rappaport, with Jack 
Deller (Larry Loonin) 
wearing headphones a 
few steps behind. Frame 
enlargement from "The 
Man Who Envied Women," 
by Yvonne Rainer. Bot- 
tom: Amy Schewel (left) 
and Nancy Salzer (right) 
chatting near an unsus- 
pecting Jack Deller 
(William Raymond). 
Frame enlargement 
from "TMWEW." 
Courtesy filmmaker 

APRIL 1986 



signifiers of castration threat, voyeurism and the 
controlling gaze, identity and difference, scopic 
drives, visual pleasure, To Have and Have Not. 
The problem is that even as we employ these 
terms for describing and unveiling the workings 
of patriarchy, we implicate ourselves deeper into 
those very operations, as into a well-worn track 
in the forest. The very notion of lack, as propos- 
ed by Lacan, mirrors the prevailing cultural bias 
by privileging the symbolic threat of loss of the 
penis over the actual loss of the mother's body. 
Yes, I know that language is an all-important 
mediating factor and that loss of the breast pre- 
dates the acquisition of language. Which then 
means, of course, that the breast is "less" than 
the penis. And how can this be otherwise when 
the clitoris is nonexistent? Psychoanalytic hierar- 
chies of sexual synedoche are mind-boggling 
and, for psychoanalysis, irrevocable. For 
women, however, psychoanalysis can only de- 
fine a site of prolonged struggle. 

All of this may seem far afield from my start- 
ing place, the authorial voice and fictional sub- 
ject in cinematic practice, which we may now 
characterize as our (back to the undifferentiated 
pronominal mass!) desire for Oedipus in all or 
most of His manifestations. Although I may 
have to pay the consequences of breaking the 
Law of the Father in my daily life, there's no 
reason I can't give it (the Law) a run for its 
money as a filmmaker. If I'm going to make a 
movie about Oedipus, i.e., Eddy and Edy Pussy 
Foot, I'm going to have to subject him to some 
calculated narrative screw-ups. It's elementary, 
dear Eddy: play with signifiers of desire. Have 
two actors play Jack Deller, the male protagonist 
in TMWEW. Remove the physical presence of 
Trisha, the female protagonist, and reintroduce 
her as a voice. Create situations that can accom- 
modate both ambiguity and contradiction with- 
out eliminating the possibility of taking specific 
political stands. 

Shift De Lauretis's image/ground of narrative 
movement by frequent changes in the "produc- 
tion value" of the image, e.g., by utilizing refilm- 
ing techiques, blown-up super 8, inferior quality 
video transfers, shooting off of a TV set with bad 
reception, etc. — not in order to make the usual 
intra-narrative tropes, however, such as the 
character's look at a TV show or a shift in mean- 
ing of the image to dream, flashback, or inner 
thoughts of a character. What I'm talking about 
is a disruption of the glossy, unified surface of 
professional cinematography by means of op- 
tically degenerated shots within an otherwise 
seamlessly edited narrative sequence. 

Play off different, sometimes conflicting, 
authorial voices. And here I'm not talking about 
balance or both sides of a question like the night- 
ly news, or about finding a "new language" for 
women. I'm talking about registers of complici- 
ty/protest/acquiescence within a single shot or 
scene that do not give a message of despair. I'm 
talking about bad guys making progressive 

APRIL 1986 



political sense and good girls shooting off their 
big toe and mouth. I'm talking about uneven 
development and fit in the departments of con- 
sciousness, activism, articulation, and behavior 
that must be constantly reassessed by the spec- 
tator. I'm talking about incongruous juxtaposi- 
tions of modes of address: recitation, reading, 
"real" or spontaneous speech, printed texts, 
quoted texts, et ai, all in the same film. I'm talk- 
ing about representations of divine couplings 
and (un)holy triads being rescreened only to be 
used for target practice. I'm talking about not 
pretending that a life lived in potholes taking 
potshots will be easy and without cost, on screen 
or off. 

I'm talking about films where in every scene 
you have to decide anew the priorities of looking 
and listening. In TMWEW there's a scene in 
which Jack Deller delivers a rambling lecture to a 
group of students in what is eventually revealed 
to be a newly renovated loft-condominium. If 
one doesn't pay particular attention to the insis- 
tent, autonomous tracking of the camera around 
the space, but puts all of one's efforts into 
deciphering the spoken text with its ellipses, 
digressions, and dipping in and out of Foucault, 
Lacan, Chomsky, Piaget, et ai, when Trisha's 
voice finally begins to talk about the disappeared 
in Central America and New York, you will have 
missed the meaning of that space, i.e., an expen- 
sive piece of real estate, as a crucial link between 
the lecture and instances of U.S. international 
and domestic imperialism. The visual track in 
this instance anticipates the sound track, but also 
supplies a subtext for the lecture with its retroac- 
tive associations of urban university land- 
grabbing. 

Later in the film, texts are played off in a dif- 
ferent way. In a scene in a narrow corridor be- 
tween Jack Deller and his ex-lover, Jackie, the 
main thesis of Foucault's "power-is-every- 
where" is intercut with documentary footage of 
demonstrations of power "somewhere" in par- 
ticular, "on this side" and "on that side." Jack 
Deller's recitation of the Foucault material is fur- 
ther juxtaposed with Jackie's recitation of ex- 
cerpts from an essay by Meaghan Morris in 
which she criticizes theory itself for having "no 
teeth." 10 

Other tensions abound here: the anti-mono- 
lithic arguments of Foucault colliding with 
Trisha's invocation of military/police and medi- 
cal fraternities, and the disparity between doing 
and speaking, or image and text, as demon- 
strated in the seductive moves of Jack and 
Jackie, a disparity that then collides with 
Foucault's "There is no opposition between 
what is said and what is done."" At another 
point Morris's description of Lacan's reign at the 
"costume ball" of feminine writing "not as law- 
giver but as queen" is followed by a dream se- 
quence in which a mother and daughter (played by 
one performer) play a queen of the kitchen who 
is alternately romanced by her son-in-law and 



watches him and her daughter in bed, in a short 
and shifty oedipal extravaganza caustically nar- 
rated by the irate daughter. If these scenes are 
about a conflict between theory and practice, or 
a contradiction between theory and everyday 
life, they can also be read in terms of a "return of 
the repressed" which, operating as more than 
cheap subversion, constantly pressures theory 
into re-examining systems of signification, 
reinventing its own constraints. 

Finally, I'm talking about films that allow for 
periods of poetic ambiguity, only to unexpected- 
ly erupt into rhetoric, outrage, direct political 
address or analysis, only to return to a new 
adventure of Eddy Foot or New Perils of Edy 
Foot. He may still shoot off his big toe while get- 
ting or not getting the girl, but he'll also ask a few 
questions or wait in the wings a little longer to see 
how the ladies work it out without him. And this 
time around she may start to rip off her rival's 
dress, but then stop to muse, "Hey, we're wear- 
ing the same dress aren't we? Why don't we pool 
our energies and try to figure out what a political 
myth for socialist feminism might look like?" 

So they (she and she) make a movie together 
and .... 

NOTES 

1. 16mm, color, 125 min., 1985; distributed by First 
Run Features, 153 Waverly Place, New York, NY 
10014. 

2. Teresa De Lauretis, Alice Doesn't: Feminism, 
Semiotics, Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana Uni- 
versity Press, 1984), p. 112. 

3. Ibid., p. 119. 

4. Ibid., p. 120. 

5. Ibid., p. 121. 

6. Script of Film A bout a Woman Who. . . (16mm, 
black and white, 105 min., 1974), published in 
October, No. 2 (Summer 1976), p. 61. 

7. De Lauretis, pp. 136-137. 

8. Laura Mulvey, "Afterthoughts on 'Visual 
Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' Inspired by 'Duel 
in the Sun' (King Vidor, 1946)," Framework, No. 
15/16/17 (1981), pp. 14-15. 

9. From Sigmund Freud, the standard edition of The 
Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund 
Freud, 13:213, quoted in Marie Balmary, 
Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis: Freud and the 
Hidden Fault of the Father (Baltimore: Johns 
Hopkins University Press, 1982), p. 80. 

10. Meaghan Morris, "The Pirate's Fiancee," in 
Michel Foucault: Power, Truth, Strategy (Sydney: 
Feral Publications, 1979), edited by Meaghan 
Morris and Paul Patton, p. 159. 

11. "Power and Norm: Notes [taken at a lecture by 
Michel Foucault], ibid., p. 62. 

Yvonne Rainer is a filmmaker and ex-choreogra- 
pher. A retrospective of her five feature films is 
taking place at the Whitney Museum of Ameri- 
can Art, from March 25 to April 10, 1986. 

ifi Yvonne Rainer 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 25 



BOOK REVIEW 



ADAPTATION: PROS AND CONS 



Double Exposure: Fiction into Film 

by Joy Gould Boyum 

New York, New American Library, 1985, 287 pp., 

$14.95, {paper) 



Janet Wickenhaver 



There aren't many books about adaptations of 
novels into films, nor are there many academic 
courses offered on this topic. Yet literary fiction 
has been — perhaps now more than ever — a pri- 
mary source for movie scripts, from independent 
shorts to major features to numerous works 
achieving artistic acclaim. Critic and professor 
Joy Gould Boyum's Double Exposure, then, is a 
welcome and informative addition to the study 
of adaptation for the screen. Approximately half 
of the book presents a general, theoretical 
discussion of adaptation. The rest considers the 
pitfalls that occur in the process and analyzes 
specific films that illustrate the author's points. 
Many people view films based on literature 
with suspicion. Boyum's opening comments re- 
veal that, due to her literary background, she 
also once considered an adaptation necessarily 
inferior to the written original. Subsequently, 
however, she radically revised her attitude. In 
part, her project in this book becomes the resur- 
rection of the ailing reputation of this peculiar 
form of translation and influence. Her effort re- 
sponds to biases in both camps: cinema and lit- 
erature. On the literary side, prejudice has ex- 
isted since the advent of film, when movies were 
seen as a lesser art, debased mass entertainment 
incapable of a great book's greatness. Worse, 
movies threatened to steal the audience for 
novels. "On the one side we have the 'ransack- 
ing' hordes of mass culture; on the other the 
defending troops of high culture fighting for 
their very life; with the adaptation emerging as a 
convenient emblem of conflict," writes Boyum 
in her chapter on "Biases and Preconceptions." 
Among the esteemed defenders of high culture: 
Virginia Woolf and Hannah Arendt, who both 
regarded adaptation as betrayal. But, perhaps 
the received view was best expressed in George 
Bluestone's 1957 Novels into Film, paraphrased 
by Boyum: "[Djespite superificial similarities, 
the movie and the novel are essentially anti- 
thetical forms. . .a film adaptation will, even at 
its very best, be a lesser work of art than its 
source." In reply, Boyum points out that the late 
fifties, when Bluestone wrote his book, was 
hardly the heyday of American cinema, with the 

26 THE INDEPENDENT 




Albert Finney in what author Boyum con- 
siders "the single most effective shot" from 
John Huston's "Under the Volcano." 



period's overabundance of 3-D horror movies, 
biblical spectaculars, and beach blanket teen- 
flicks. She contends that concepts of adaptation 
like Bluestone's need drastic revision, given the 
number of important films made in recent dec- 
ades that derive from literary sources. 

On the cinematic side, much critical activity 
has centered on identifying the unique properties 
of the medium, i.e., those elements that disting- 
uish film from written art. "Here, of course, lies 
the basis for the antipathy cineastes hold toward 
the adapation." Notable in this camp is Francois 
Truffaut, who saw adapations as "writers' 
films," hence not authentic cinema. Boyum 
handily disposes of both traditional negative ap- 
proaches to adaptation, as well as with the objec- 
tion that an adaptation is inferior because it can- 
not be authentic or "original." She counters 
such negativity with arguments that reveal and 
dismantle the "essential absurdity of seeing film 
and literature as mortal enemies." 

She then takes up her own challenge to iden- 
tify the similarities rather than the differences be- 
tween the two forms. In her following chapter, 
Boyum contends that the essence of the novel 
does not rest in the specific language used to tell a 
tale (although she grants that the style and tone 
of that language is crucial), but "[w]hat makes 
literature literature. . .is its 'fictionality.'" Ac- 
cording to Boyum, fictionality is also the defin- 



ing characteristic of narrative film, thus the two 
are not as distant as some critics seem to think. In 
this scheme, film is a species of literature enabled 
by new technology. 

As in her previous chapter, Boyum first sets up 
the positions that conflict with hers in order to 
destroy them. Here, too, there is much to agree 
with. She asserts that both novels and films cre- 
ate imaginary worlds and characters who assume 
a palpable life in the reader/viewer's imagina- 
tion; both are temporal forms that "require time 
to reveal themselves"; each has analogous tech- 
niques for condensing and freezing time. But 
when Boyum concludes that film and the novel 
resemble no other art form as much as they do 
each other, she enters dubious theoretical ter- 
rain. For instance, at one point she compares the 
role of the novelistic narrator with that of the 
camera: "Unlike theatre, where our eye is free to 
wander, to look anywhere or at anyone and in 
whatever order it pleases, film, by virtue of the 
camera-narrator, always mediates its materials 
and controls and directs our perceptions." In an 
effort to combat what she sees as hysteria among 
those who degrade adaptation, Boyum collapses 
film into literature. This move depends on her 
definition of literature as determined by fic- 
tionality — a debatable proposition, even on a 
semantic level. For literature necessarily entails 
the printed word (in Latin: littera = letter; lit- 
teratura = writing, alphabet). The experience of 
reading a novel depends on its use of language, 
and cinematic "language" differs considerably 
from written or even spoken texts. Surely the 
two forms deserve differentiation without elim- 
inating the possiblity that they might come into 
fruitful contact. 

Although Boyum overstates, and perhaps dis- 
torts, the shared attributes of literary fiction and 
cinematic fiction, she acknowledges the differ- 
ences in her exploration of the problems encoun- 
tered in adapation: " . . .to translate from page 
to screen, word to image, requires a major act of 
creative imagination," and "of interpretation as 
well." Boyum effectively employs Sophie's 
Choice as an example of the different preconcep- 
tions and expectations viewer/readers bring to 
the screen versions of books they've read. She 
hypothesizes that we compare the cinematic real- 
ization to the movie we have mentally construct- 
ed and the emotions we have attached to our per- 
sonal scenario. Hence, we always compare one 
interpretation with another. In Boyum's words, 
"Watching an adaptation, then, everything 
comes to us framed in a double vision." There is 
our scene and the filmmaker's. 

From this analysis, Boyum's roots in the read- 
er-response school of literary criticism become 

APRIL 1986 



apparent: " . . .if he [sic] isn't metaphorically in- 
visible, seated in a darkened auditorium, the 
viewer does remain quite literally unseen, and his 
peculiar physical situation creates the illusion of 
total passivity." Still, as Boyum points out, "We 
are anything but passive in watching a film. We 
are involved in a complex process of evocation." 
Films require viewers just as books require 
readers. And the subject of adaptation seems to 
favor an analogy between the act of reading and 
watching films. But, after arguing for variable 
subjectivities and relativity when considering re- 
sponses to adaptations, Boyum places limita- 
tions on her critical position: "In short, though a 
literary work can admit countless readings, the 
inescapable fact is that some readings are better 
than others." For her, a successful adapation is 
built on a sensitive reading of the original text. 

However, Boyum does not insist that fidelity 
to the letter of the text constitutes the best trans- 
lation. A case she offers is Kurosawa's Throne of 
Blood, often regarded as the best adaptation of 
Macbeth, in spite of the discrepancies of time, 
place, and language between the movie and the 
original text. Here Boyum identifies the adaptor's 
task as finding effective cinematic analogies to 
the author's rhetorical devices, such as point of 
view, style and tone, metaphors and symbols, 
and the rendering of interior processes. She then 
applies the criteria she has developed to a series 
of recent, well-known adaptations: Under the 
Volcano, Tess, The Great Gatsby, Wise Blood, 
Lord of the Flies, and more. Each film is treated 
in a chapter in the section entitled "The Rhetoric 
of Adaptation," which reads like a series of indi- 
vidual reviews with no cumulative argument. In- 
deed, what Boyum seems to advance is a treatise 
on "how to make a brilliant adaptation." All 
you have to do is achieve an excellent under- 
standing of book — in terms of point of view, 
style and tone, and, of course, major themes. 
Then you must find compelling film analogies 
for literary metaphors, symbols, and mental 
processes, condense the text, cast appropriately, 
find a brilliant cinematographer, art director, 
editor, and composer. In addition you must be 
an absolute genius. 

This application of Boyum's theory under- 
lines its limitations. Within the parameters she 
establishes, certain works of fiction, e.g., those 
by Virginia Woolf or Gertrude Stein, appear un- 
adaptable. Her analysis remains skewed toward 
financially viable, narrative cinema. But, as 
writers and experimental filmmakers constantly 
demonstrate, fiction — and even narrative — are 
changing forms. The project of translation, 
then, becomes more challenging, if less conven- 
tional than that proposed by Boyum. Still, by 
dissecting some popular examples of adaptation, 
she provides a number of provocative ideas that 
deserve attention. 



Janet Wickenhaver is a freelance writer and 
screenwriter living in Hoboken, New Jersey. 



it 



NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM YOUNG PROFESSIONALS SEMINARS 

"THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!" 

Everything Vou Always Wanted to Know 

About Finding, Getting and Advancing in Jobs 

in Dramatic Films and Television 



WOMEN Date: April 19, 1986 Time: 9 AM to 5 PM 

iNFILrA Place: YWCA, 610 Lexington Avenue (53rd Street) 

This all-day seminar begins with an in-depth panel discussion with five distin- 
guished women professionals who work in the areas of producing, directing, 
production design and management, editing and business affairs. 

After a lunch break, registrants will have an opportunity to meet with three 
of the panelists in small discussion groups, each lasting an hour, for detailed 
questions and dialogue. 

The day concludes with a wine and cheese reception when registrants can 
speak with the panelists and meet other professionals working in the field. 
The program is presented in cooperation with the YWCA. 

Registration Fees: 

$40 — Regular registrant; $35 — Full-time student (with current ID) 
$30 — New York Women in Film and YWCA members 

There is a $5 discount in all categories for registration prior to April 1 1 . 

Make checks payable to New York Women in Film and send to: 

New York Women in Film, Seminar 

27 West 20th Street, Room 1203 

New York, NY 100011 

Call CHARGIT at 944-9300 to make phone reservations with credit card. 

For additional information, call New York Women in Film at 206-8765. 




L CUS 



Video Rentals 
& Production 

COM MUNICATIONS 

250 WEST 57th STREET, SUITE 1229, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10019 (212) 757-4220 



APRIL 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



27 



FESTIVALS 



GLOBAL GROOVE: 

THE WORLD WIDE VIDEO FESTIVAL 



David Shulman 



A tour of the elegant north end of the Hague, 
Holland, is filled with historical, political, and 
cultural landmarks. Ceremonial horse-drawn 
carriages at the entrance of the palace of Queen 
Beatrix are reminders of an imperial past. A 
stone's throw away stands the World Court, 
where last year Nicaragua accused the United 
States government of violating international law. 
Nearby the works of Vermeer, Mondrian, and 
other Dutch masters are housed in many city 
museums. Exploring further one finds the Kijk- 
huis, a three-story alternative screening and per- 
formance center which, last September, was, 
home of the fourth World Wide Video Festival. 

While the name may sound a bit pretentious, 
the WWVF aspires to be an event that places 
video center stage. By allowing video to stand on 
its own, unsubordinated to film, the festival cre- 
ates a context in which video can define its own 
identity, distinct from traditional dramatic struc- 
tures of film or the commercial orientation of 
television. Although the festival started small, 
last year more than 130 independently produced 
works were screened; most were recent works 
from Western Europe, the United States, Eng- 
land, and Japan, plus a couple of tapes from 
Poland and Yugoslavia. 

In a very positive sense, the non-competitive 
WWVF is a viewers' festival. There is no central 
theme and only the suggestion of a guiding phil- 
osophy. In the introduction to the handsome 
catalogue, festival organizer Tom Van Vliet and 
programmer Albert Wufflers write, "Videos are 
commonly characterized by a poetic, intimate 
atmosphere. They are multi-layered and still not 
bound by time conventions." The event's struc- 
ture reflected this lack of conventions by empha- 
sizing experimentation in form and content, 
avoiding thematic, geographic, or retrospective 
programming, and ignoring the traditional dis- 
tinctions between social issue video and video 
art. 

For the most part, the programs were refresh- 
ingly eclectic, although some of the selections, 
chosen by Wufflers, Van Vliet, and his partner 
Leo Reijnen, displayed a very tiresome infatua- 
tion with image-processing. There were political- 
ly pointed video spots, tapes that combine music 
and images in styles unlikely to appear on MTV, 
poetic documentaries, and a number of tapes, 
like the British "scratch videos," that recycle 




"Seins Fiction II: Der Unbesiegbare," by Gusztav Hamos, attracted attention at the World 
Wide Video Festival. 

Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix 
mass media images. Some of the tapes that gen- 
erated the most excitement were large-scale pro- 
ductions made in collaboration with European 
state television, such as the video adaptation of 
Dante's Inferno, by Peter Greenaway, in con- 
junction with Great Britain's Channel 4, and 
Gusztav Hamos's Der Unbeseigbare, a mythic 
story about an archtypal hero who defends the 
earth against invading agents from Mars, co- 
produced by ZDF television of West Germany. 
Except for several installations at the 
Municipal Museum of the Hague and another 
nearby location, all of the tapes were shown in 
the Kijkhuis's four screening spaces. The three 
smaller rooms, each seating about 30, are equip- 
ped with monitors, while the 100-seat theater has 
a video projection system. On the ground floor 
of the Kijkhuis is a bar and restaurant, which 
during off-hours doubles as a small performance 
space. As the bar was usually open until 2 a.m., 
the WWVF seemed a world unto itself, complete 
with every amenity but a place to sleep . While the 
festival began with appropriate opening day 
ceremonies, there was no black-tie gala or 
glamorous social scene. Nor were there the press 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



conferences that bring individual producers into 
the spotlight. But many friends and connections 
were made and a lot of video business conducted 
in the Kijkhuis rear garden. 

The festival pays for hotel accommodations, 
but not the travel expenses of invited producers. 
While there were surprisingly few U.S. video- 
makers present, many from France, Germany, 
Britain, and Holland were on hand. They min- 
gled with an international crowd of museum 
curators, critics, directors of other festivals, 
distributors, and programmers from Dutch, 
Belgian, and West German TV. Also in evidence 
were lots of locals, who paid 50 guilders (less 
than $20) for admission to the five-day event and 
20 guilders for a single day's viewing. 

For those who speak only English, the lack of 
subtitles for the many non-English language 
tapes was frustrating. Without transcripts pro- 
vided, viewers could only rely on the catalogue 
summaries. Another problem was the lack of 
any organized discussion, making it difficult to 
ask producers questions about their work while 
the images were still fresh. Although press con- 
ferences aren't necessarily the solution, it would 

APRIL 1986 



be an improvement to have the producers pre- 
sent at one of the three screenings scheduled for 
most works. 

The festival receives its major funding from 
the Dutch Ministry of Culture, the city govern- 
ment of the Hague, and the Sony Corporation. 
The programmers travel throughout the year in 
search of tapes, soliciting some by mail as well as 
accepting submissions. Many of the featured 
U.S. tapes were selected from the distributors 
Electronic Arts Intermix in New York City and 
Video Data Bank in Chicago. Given the am- 
bitious scope of the festival and its important 
role as one of the few international showcases 
for independent video art, there is a danger that 
the selection will become a too narrow reflection 
of the individual tastes of two or three people. 
While the organizers seem to be doing a fine job 
so far, they may want to consider incorporating 
regional representatives or some other broadly 
based selection process as the festival grows and 
matures. 

David Shulman 's current project is a documen- 
tary on the history of public access television in 
the United States. 

Deadline for submissions: July 1. Contact Tom 
Van Vliet or Leo Reijnen, Kijkhuis, Noordeinde 
140, 2514 GP Den Haag, The Netherlands; tel. 
070-65-18-80. 



IN BRIEF 

DOMESTIC 



• HUMBOLDT FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
May 5-9, Aurora, CA. 19th annual competition 
awards $1,800 in prize money (an increase from 
previous years). Judges this year will be Chris Choy & 
Michael Rudnick. According to organizer Suzanne 
Blaise, the program includes all genres: narrative, ex- 
perimental, animation & documentary. Max. run- 
ning time: 60 min. Judges see all entries. In 1985, 60 
films were entered but more are anticipated this year 
due to increased festival publicity. Video will be in- 
cluded in fest for first time this year. Entry fees: film- 
makers, $15; distributors, $25. Formats: 16mm & 
l A". Deadline: April 14. Contact Humboldt Film 
Festival, Theater Arts Dept., Humboldt State Uni- 
versity, Aurora, CA 95521; (707) 826-3566. 

• MILL VALLEY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
Sept., CA. In 1985, this event for shorts, features & 
documentaries included Hollywood screenings as 
well as independent productions. According to Vari- 
ety, "Works by local filmmakers take precedence 
over foreign fodder." Joyce Chopra's Smooth Talk 
& Dan & Helen Garvey's Hard Travelling were 
featured last year. Film programmer John Webber 
travels to the San Francisco Film Festival, Telluride 

APRIL 1986 



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30 THE INDEPENDENT 



& Filmex, as well as programming the San Jose Film 
Festival. Discussions and parties. Over 65 films 
screened. Special video section. Deadline: June. For 
video info, contact Zoe Elton & Richard Jett, (415) 
383-5256. For general fest info, contact Rita Cahill, 
Fest. Dir., Mill Valley Film Festival, 80 Lomita Dr., 
Ste. 20, Mill Valley, CA 94941; (415) 383-5256. 

• NATIONAL STUDENT VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
Sept. 18-21, Los Angeles. This competition is held in 
conjunction with the American Film Institute's Na- 
tional Video Festival, now in its 6th year. Unlike the 
rest of the event, the student section is an open sub- 
mission competition. Open to students enrolled in a 
post-secondary educational institution for at least 1 
term during the 1985-1986 academic year. Entries & 
winners by region & category. One national winner. 
Last year's national and northeast region winner was 
Creation, by Guy Guillet, MIT. Central region win- 
ner: Slide Show and The Old Film, by Sam Rosen- 
thal, Broward Community College; midwest: 
Registers, by Basha Korzenowski, School of the Art 
Institute of Chicago; northwest: Contents Under 
Pressure: The California Prison Crisis, by Laura 
LeBlanc & Charlene Brown, University of Califor- 
nia, Berkeley; southwest: A Video Tapestry In Three 
Parts, by David Stout, California Institute of the 
Arts. 19 national judges for 1986 include Max Almy, 
Ed Emshwiller, Julie Lazar, Penelope Spheeris & 
other independent producers, instructors & commer- 
cial & educational TV people. Tapes must be produc- 
ed between June 1985 & May 1986. Prizes include 
Sony professional video equipment. Categories: fic- 
tion, nonfiction, experimental, music video. 60 min. 
max. Submit work on V* ". Fee: $7. Tapes should be 
submitted to appropriate regional coordinators. For 
entry form & list of coordinators, contact Student 
Comp. /Exhibition, National Video Festival, The 
American Film Institute, 2021 North Western Ave., 
Los Angeles, CA 90027. 

• NEW YORK CITY EXPERIMENTAL VIDEO 
AND FILM FESTIVAL , June 5 & 6, NYC. For the 
5th year, experimental film/video producer Hunter 
Yoder & friends will present approx. 10 non-narrative 
short films & tapes at the Donnell Library Center 
Auditorium on W. 53rd St. Last year's selection in- 
cluded Seascape, by Mary Duval & Art Nomura; 
Play-Pen, by Jules Enge; Deux, by Camille Mahex & 
Eva Truska; Plastic Dance, by Ye Sook Rhee; Glass 
Vibes, by Connie Coleman; Pressure Of The Text, by 
Peter Rose & Jessie Lewis; Blue Sviee, by Shalom 
Gorewitz; Saz Island, by Hank Bull & Eric Metcalfe; 
Insomnia, by Matthew Schlanger; Mr. President, by 
Jill Kroesen. Last year's judges were John Hanhardt, 
Wendy Chambers & Marie Nesthus. 1986 judges will 
include Barbara London of the Museum of Modern 
Art. Each piece selected receives $200. All work must 
be entered on either Beta or VHS, but must be 
available for festival screening on Vt " (including 
films). Two other venues in New York to be announc- 
ed. Entry fee: $15. Deadline: April 15. Contact 
Hunter Yoder, NYC Experimental Video & Film 
Festival, 331 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY 11231; (718) 
858-3140. 

• PHILAFILM, July, Philadelphia, PA. Sponsored 
by the Assoc, of Motion Picture & TV Producers, a 
Philly-based organization. Each year fest chooses 
theme; in 1984 theme was "Images of Bahai in 
Brazilian Cinema"; last year's was "Through the 
Eyes of Minority & Independent Producers." 1985's 
competition included approx. 50 features, shorts & 
docs. Awards went to In the Name of Democracy, by 
Pam Cohen & Jose Ponce for Best Film Doc; 
Return, by Andrew Silver, Best Film; Gotta Make 
This Journey: Sweet Honey In The Rock, by Joseph 
Camp & Michele Parkerson, Best Video Doc; Love 
in Vain, by Michael Slovis, Best Short; The Broken 

APRIL 1986 



Thread, by Christine Mehner, Best Super 8; The 
Stillness, by Reynold Weidenaar. At least 12 other 
awards given. Judges were Lyn Kessler, Atlantic City 
Stage & Lighting; Aristides Martinez, editor; Adri- 
enne Wyche, Glassboro State Univ. Some local press 
coverage. Fest noted for an array of bureaucratic 
problems in the past. Offices are in the Urban Coali- 
tion offices and director Lawrence Smallwood & 
staff are not always available, while those who are do 
not know about the event, now in its 9th year. 
Categories: drama, documentary, animation, ex- 
perimental, TV commercial & TV series. Format: 
35mm, 16mm, S-8 & Vt ". Deadline: early May. Con- 
tact Lawrence Smallwood, Int. Assoc, of Motion 
Picture & TV Producers, 121 N. Broad St., 6th fl., 
Philadelphia, PA 19107; (215) 977-2831. 

• ROBERT FLAHERTY SEMINAR, Aug. 9-16, 
Aurora, NY. Annual film & video retreat/work- 
shop presents new work by, to & for independent 
producers. Considered by most attendees to be con- 
sistently rewarding & intensive experience. [In the 
May Independent, David Schwartz will review last 
year's Flaherty seminar.] In 1986 "the seminar will 
consider diverse cultural perspectives & values in film 
& video. The programmers hope to raise provocative 
issues & look at patterns & differences in world media 
by presenting film & video works from the western & 
developing nations." Do not submit films & tapes 
without first contacting one of the programmers: 
Linda Blackaby, Neighborhood Film/Video Pro- 
ject, International House, 3701 Chestnut St., Phila- 
delphia, PA 19104, (215) 387-5125; & Anthony Git- 
tens, vice-president, International Film Seminars, 
University of the District of Columbia, 1838 Ontario 
Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, (202) 727-2396. 
Selection to be completed by June 1. For information 
about attending Flaherty (registration fees: $525 in- 
cluding room & board) contact Esme Dick, Interna- 
tional Film Seminars, 44 W. 56th St., 3rd fl., New 
York, NY 10019; (212) 582-0273. 

• SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LES- 
BIAN AND GAY FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, 
June 20-29, CA. 10th anniversary plans include a 
retrospective of outstanding films from festivals 
past, including Times Square, which was pulled by its 





The late Barbara Demlng is one of eight 
women and men profiled in "Silent Pio- 
neers," which screened last year at the San 
Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film and Video 
Festival. 

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APRIL 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



31 



distributor from the fest in 1981. Thus far selected 
new features are La Muerte do Mikel (Spain) and Das 
Game Leben (Switzerland). All genres & styles 
welcome, including features, shorts & documentaries 
about lesbians & gay men. Films last year included 
Choosing Children, A Man Like Eva, Broken Mir- 
rors, Times of Harvey Milk, Silent Pioneers, and 
others from Great Britain, Japan & The Netherlands. 
Sponsored by Frameline, a non-profit media organ- 
ization. The SF fest, the longest running screening 
series on gay & lesbian issues, has been directed since 
1981 by Michael Lumpkin. Screenings at the Castro 
& Roxie Theaters in SF. "Awards presented to out- 
standing works in several categories." Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, S-8, V* " & VHS. Deadline: April 15. 
Contact Frameline, Box 14792, San Francisco, CA 
94114; (415) 861-5245. 

• SLICE OF LIFE SHOWCASE, July 11-12, State 
College, PA. Held in conjunction with Central Penn- 
sylvania Festival of the Arts & presented by the Doc- 
umentary Resource Center. Four-year-old event is 
open to film & videomakers in the mid-Atlantic 
region. According to coordinator Carrie Crompton, 
filmmakers participating in discussions & workshops 
receive stipend for accommodations & travel. Ap- 
prox. 4 hours of film & video presented. Max. run- 
ning time: 30 min. Last year's selection included An 
Acquired Taste, by Ralph Arlyck; Cape May: End of 
the Season, by Maxi Cohen; Birthday Party, by Tony 
Buba; If This Ain't Heaven, by Roberta Cantow; 
Written on Water, by Stephen Roszell. Selectors 
George Hornbein & Ken Thigpen's stated preference 
is for work that "documents simply & realistically the 
unique performances of everyday life." According to 
Crompton, fest eschews the overtly "ideological or 
political" in favor of work that "really reveals people 
as they are in their own time & space." Full houses of 
500 for both of the 2 weekend screenings. Brunch for 




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the filmmakers at Penn. State University. Format: 
16mm & Vi ". Deadline: May 1 . Contact Slice of Life, 
848 Elmwood St., State College, PA 16801; (814) 
234-7886. 

• VIDEO FREE HAWAII, June, Honolulu, HI. 
Free public screenings at Grand Ballroom of Pacific 
Beach Hotel in Honolulu on 2 screens during one 
evening from 7 p.m. to midnight. Approx. 25 works 
screened at last year's 10th anniversary event, in- 
cluding videos from Hawaiian producers (TheKona 
Coast, It's Up To Me: Teen Pregnancy in Hawaii, 
Molokai); foreign videos & mainland productions, 
including Pick Up Your Feet, Open Space: DCTV& 
Voyage of Dreams. Presented by John Mullen, Kerry 
Taggert & Video Free Hawaii, a non-profit organiza- 
tion funded by the Hawaii State Foundation for the 
Arts. Return postage paid. V* " only. Program notes 
printed. Deadline: May. Contact Video Free Hawaii, 
680 Moana, 2nd fl., Honolulu, HI 96822; (808) 
955-1918. 



FOREIGN 



• INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILM AND 
VIDEO ON ART, Sept., Paris. Documentaries on 
art & artists, educational films & films on architec- 
ture in 35mm, 16mm & cassette. Awards for best 
film, best direction, best scenario, best research. No 
forms. Work shipped via diplomatic pouch in July. 
Contact FIFA, 16 rue de Richelieu, 75002 Paris, 
France; tel. 297 49 60; or Videotheque de Paris, 4 rue 
Beaubourg, Paris, France. 

• VELDEN FESTIVAL OF NATIONS, May 
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amateur film festival for work that "contributes to 
the understanding of peoples." National, city & state 
prizes; gold, silver & bronze medals & special awards. 
Special prices for travel & accommodations for par- 
ticipating filmmakers & guests; special deals for 
events like jury discussions, concluding program, 
film-soiree, dinners & admission to the casino in 
Velden. Formats: 16mm, S-8. Categories: documen- 
tation, travel, games & genre (fantasy & experimen- 
tal). 30 min. max running time. Deadline: April 30. 
Films returned by July 20. Include return postage. 
Possible screening on Austrian TV. Contact Velden 
Festival of Nations, Organization Committee, Kun- 
direktion A-9220, Velden am Woerther See, Austria; 
tel. (0 42 74) 21 05; telex 4-29 45 15. 

• WELLINGTON FILM FESTIVAL, July, New 
Zealand. 15th annual non-competitive international 
event primarily for features & shorts on the interna- 
tional festival circuit. Last year director Bill Gosden 
programmed 60 films including Cal, Desperately 
Seeking Susan, Entre Nous & Gaylene Preston's Mr. 
Wrong. 1985's attendance topped 35,000 as the fest 
moved into a larger (850-seat) venue. "Generally the 
festival will show only films that have been accepted 
& shown by a recognized festival or festivals outside 
of New Zealand." Deadline for forms: April 30. 
Preview material on video should be sent only upon 
the festival's request. Organizers do not take respon- 
sibility for return of unsolicited material. Screenings 
in Wellington are followed by Aukland Film Festival 
screenings. Certificate of participation awarded to 
every film invited. The fest can act as informal liaison 
with buyers in New Zealand. Deadline for invited 
prints: June 15. Format: 16mm, 35mm (preferred), 
70mm. Address for films: N.F. Raven Customs 
Agents, Wellington Airport, New Zealand. Fest ad- 
dress: Wellington Film Festival, Box 9544, Courtney 
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32 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1986 



IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 



L 



Andrea Estepa 

Saturday Night Live meets Ebony magazine in 
Reggie's World of Soul, a half-hour videotape 
by Reginald Hudlin. The tape uses a television 
magazine format to satirize race relations and 
aspects of black life in the U.S. Hudlin's 
outrageous cast of characters includes members 
of the Rasta-Hasidim, a break-dancing religious 
sect whose favorite pastime is arguing whether 
the slave trade or the Holocaust was the greatest 
crime against humanity, and Dr. Mau Mau of 
the "White Guilt Clinic," who arranges brow- 
beatings for uneasy Caucasians anxious to rid 
themselves of lingering subliminal prejudices 
against members of the Negro race. Reggie's 
World of Soul was screened at the Blacklight 
Film Festival in Chicago and was included in the 
New York-based Black Filmmaker Foundation's 
Dialogues with Black Videomakers series. The 
tape was such a hit with its New York audience 
that Hudlin was included in the Village Voice's 

1985 year-end "Avant-Pop" profiles — an an- 
nual selection by the weekly's cultural critics of 
talents to watch in the coming year. Reggie's 
World of Soul: Black Filmmaker Foundation, 
80 Eighth Ave., #1704, New York, NY 10011; 
(212)924-1198. 

Ivan Acosta's first feature-length film, Amigos, 
is a mostly light-hearted tale of Ramon, a Cuban 
refugee who comes to Miami during the Mariel 
boat lift in search of the American Dream. With 
the help of his childhood friend Pablo who, after 
20 years on the mainland, is a well-established 
car salesman with many friends and a beautiful 
fiancee, Ramon struggles to adapt to his new en- 
vironment. While most of the film views 
Ramon's problems with a comic eye, it also 
addresses the bitter aspects of his new life, partic- 
ularly his encounters with the widespread belief 
that Marielitos are criminals and social outcasts. 
The 108-minute, 16mm color film is in Spanish 
with English subtitles and has been released 
theatrically in a number of U.S. cities, including 
Miami and New York. Amigos: Manicato Films, 
484 W. 43rd St., #42D, New York, NY 10036; 
(212) 594-0615. 

Together and Apart, Laurie Lynd's short film 
musical, has been selected for inclusion in the 

1986 New Directors/New Films Festival, to be 
held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York 
City in April. The 26-minute narrative, filmed in 
Canada, follows Tom, a successful poet, on a 
sentimental journey to his alma mater where he 
meets his former lover Michael for the first time 
in several years. The problem? Michael has a 
wife. This situation may not seem like something 
to sing about, but the characters often burst into 
songs by Toronto-based musician Micah Barnes. 
In addition to festival screenings, Together and 

APRIL 1986 




Glenda Starr and Keith Boseman battle razor 
Soul." 

Photo: Floyd Webb 

Apart is slated for inclusion in WNET's In- 
dependent Focus series this summer. Together 
and Apart: Laurie Lynd, 512 E. 13th St., #5D, 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 677-2591. 

In addition to creating the computer-generat- 
ed opening logo for PBS's Live from Off Center, 
director John Sanborn and producer Mary 
Perillo have just completed a half-hour ex- 
perimental video piece for the series. Described 
by Sanborn as a "doo-wop opera fantasy about 
the movies," Sister Suzie Cinema combines text, 
dance, music, and electronic imagery. The piece 
was written by Lee Breuer, with music by Bob 
Telson (of The Gospel at Colonnus fame), cho- 
reographed by Cyndi Lee of XXY Dance/ 
Music, and features Fourteen Karat-Soul and 
Ben Halley, Jr. Perillo and Sanborn are currently 
preparing a videodisc collection of Sanborn's 
works for Pioneer Laserdisc of Japan; it is the 
first in a projected series of discs that will 
highlight the works of video artists. Sister Suzie 
Cinema: John Sanborn Productions, 125 Cedar 
St., New York, NY 10006; (212) 962-0650. 

Kartemquin Films is currently producing a 
documentary portrait of the artist Leon Golub, 
exploring the political implications of Golub's 
often frightening, visceral images of riots, inter- 
rogations, and death squads. Major portions of 
the film have already been shot in Chicago, 
where Golub was born and educated, his current 
home New York, Montreal, and Washington, 
D.C. The film is co-produced by the Focus/In- 
finity Fund, a Chicago-based foundation com- 



bumps in Reginald Hudlin's "Reggie's World of 



mitted to producing media with social signifi- 
cance. The filmmakers are still seeking comple- 
tion funds, and are planning a summer 1986 
release. The Leon Golub Project: Kartemquin 
Educational Films, 1901 W. Wellington, 
Chicago, IL 60657; (312) 472-4366. 

Rachid Kerdouche's new feature is the story 
of Vermont farmer Hargus Beasley and Lisa, the 
girl he loves. Frustrated by Hargus's all-too- 
oedipal devotion to his mother, Lisa abandons 
him to make a new life for herself in New York 
City. After his mother's death some months 
later, Hargus sets out on a relentless search for 
Lisa with the intention of winning her back. 
Working his way through the streets of Gotham 
with his new-found sidekick Julius, Hargus en- 
counters a variety of strange characters who've 
crossed Lisa's path since her arrival in the big city. 
Hargus gradually discovers that he is not Lisa's 
only admirer and ultimately meets a tragic end at 
the hands of one of his rivals. The 85-minute 
film, with the working title Her Name Is Lisa, 
was shot in 16mm, but Kerdouche intends to 
blow it up to 35mm. Her Name Is Lisa: Rachid 
Kerdouche, 628 E. 9th St., #4B, New York, NY 
10009; (212) 777-6294. 

Night Life, produced by Suzanne Smith and 
written and directed by Howard Wayne Robin- 
son, is another narrative about the misadven- 
tures of a new arrival in New York City. The film 
weaves a tale of a street pedlar's attraction to a 
young artist from Macon, Georgia, around the 
urban dilemma of gentrificaton. Filmed on loca- 



THE INDEPENDENT 



33 



tion in the East Village during October and No- 
vember of last year, the 78-minute, 16mm color 
film cost under $25,000; Robinson and Smith 
are now looking for funds with which to com- 
plete the project. Night Life: Downtown Motion 
Pictures, 240 E. 13th St., #13, New York, NY 
10003; (212) 228-1080. 

The Crow Indians' century-long struggle for 
survival is the subject of Contrary Warriors, a 
60-minute documentary film by Connie Poten, 
Pamela Roberts, and Beth Ferris. At the heart of 
the film is the life of Robert Yellowtail, the 
97-year-old leader whose testimony before the 
United States Senate on behalf of his people sav- 
ed the Crow lands in 1910. The filmmakers' ac- 
count of Yellowtail's life-long struggle to 
preserve his tribe's heritage captures the history 
of the Crows in the twentieth century as well as 
the current state of their community life. The 
film was honored with a Golden Plaque at the 
Chicago International Film Festival, named 
"Best Edited Film" at the American Indian Film 
Festival in San Francisco, and included among 
the documentary finalists at the U.S. Film 
Festival. Contrary Warriors: Rattlesnake Pro- 
ductions, Box 8779, Missoula, MT 59807. 

Last September, the bar mitzvah of Eric 
Strom received international media attention as 
the first celebrated in the Polish city of Cracow in 
45 years. Filmmakers Oren Rudavsky and David 
Leitner accompanied the 13-year-old Eric and 



his family on their journey from Stamford, Con- 
necticut, to Poland. Their film A Spark from the 
Ashes: An American Bar Mitzvah in Cracow will 
document this historic event and its impact on 
the 200-member Jewish comunity who witnessed 
it. Rudavsky and Leitner are currently assem- 
bling their Polish footage and fundraising for the 
editing and postproduction stages of the project. 
Spark from the Ashes: Oren Rudavsky Produc- 
tions, 820 West End Ave., #14F, New York, NY 
10025; (212) 222-9008. 

To most of us, voodoo means dolls and pins; 
few realize that it is a serious religion properly 
named voodou. Karen Kramer's latest film 
Legacy of the Spirit studies the true meaning of 
voudoun theology and rituals through interviews 
with believers. The 52-minute documentary, 
shot entirely in the Caribbean communities of 
New York City, introduces the viewer to the 
ceremonies, music, sacred drawings, and ritual 
objects central to the practice of voodou, and 
gives its adherents the opportunity to speak 
openly about the significance of its ancient tradi- 
tions. Legacy will be screened twice in New York 
City during April at the Museum of Modern Art 
on the 10th and at the Museum of Natural 
History on the 27th. Kramer's next project, a 
documentary about the West Indian Parade on 
Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway, tentatively titled 
Celebration, is already in production. Legacy of 
the Spirit: Karen Kramer, 22 Leroy Street, New 



York, NY 10014; (212) 691-3470. 

Rick Blazen b in Trouble, by Lee Bennet 
Sobel, is a short homage to the action/adventure 
sagas of the 1940s. The title character is a bumbl- 
ing G-man whose mission is to rescue the 
"altruist factor" — a device capable of turning 
normal human beings into total altruists — from 
arch-villain Flaming Skull before he uses the tool 
to take over the world. The 15-minute short fea- 
tures period costumes and settings and, to 
heighten the nostalgic effect, was shot on the 
same kind of black and white film stock used in 
Woody Allen's Manhattan. Rick Blazen won an 
award at the Cinemagic Short Film Search in Los 
Angeles and will be included in a home video 
cassette compilation of winners being prepared 
for commercial release. Rick Blazen: Bill Cooper 
Associates, 224 W. 49th St., #411, New York, 
NY 10019; (212) 307-1100. 

Jeff McMahon, best known for his live dance/ 
performance work, has completed a short dance 
film entitled Tell Me Moving. The black and 
white super 8 film runs 8- Vi minutes and features 
dancers John Bernd and Kaya Garni. Funded 
with a National Endowment for the Arts Dance/ 
Film Video Project grant, the piece premiered at 
New York's Performance Space 122 in February. 
Tell Me Moving: Jeff McMahon, 512E. 11th St., 
New York, NY 10009; (212) 677-3214. 







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34 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1986 



CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independent's Classifieds column in- 
cludes all listings for the "Buy • Rent • Sell," 
"Freelancers," and "Postproduction" cate- 
gories. It is restricted to members only. Each 
entry has a 250-word limit and costs $15 
per issue. Payment must be made at time 
of submission. Anyone wishing to run a classi- 
fied more than once must pay for each in- 
sertion and indicate the number of insertions 
on the submitted copy. Each classified must 
be typed, double-spaced, and worded ex- 
actly as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be respected. 
These are the 8th of each month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., April 8 for June 
issue. Make check or money order-no 
cash, please-payable to FIVF and send to: 
Independent Classifieds, FIVF, 625 Broad- 
way, 9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 



Buy • Rent •Sell 



• FOR RENT: Professional tungsten lighting 
package with grip equipment and cable. Available 
for 5-week or longer rental periods. Very low prices. 
John (201) 783-7360. 

• FOR SALE: Custom made soft barneys and cases 
for film/video equipment. Leather or cordura. 
Denise Brassard, (212) 864-1372. 

• FOR SALE: 8mm Zeiss Dist. $1200; 10mm for 
SR/BL $650; 5.7 Kino $595; 5.9Ang. $1200; Sacht. 
3 + 3Kit $2700; 25-250 Ang $4500; Aaton Mags 
$1400; Arri S Ani. Mtr. $1500; 35 Mitchell Hi Spd, 
$5200; Arri S. Pkg. $3300; NPR Pkg. $4500; 35mm 
Proj— New— $2995; 400 ' 35BL Mags $2200; 12-120 
Ang. $1200; Bolex R5 $1100, Zeiss 16 Speeds Set 
$6900. Call (212) 288-8635 Tony. 

• FOR SALE: CP16R, orientable finder, 4 PLC 
mags, 3 new batts, new gang charger, Haliburton, 
barney, many extras. Recently rebuilt by factory to 
the new & higher CP standards $3500. Bolex H16R, 
10 Switar, 17-85 Rank-Taylor Zoom, Rex-o-fader, 
Pistol grip, extras, $1000 Hal (914) 355-1400. 

• FOR SALE: Unopened 16mm color film stock in 
excellent condition: ECO 7252, 50 (100') rolls @ 
$7/roll, EF 7242 , 70 (100 ') rolls @ $6/roll, volume 
discount. Contact Mark Mori, P.O. Box 5202, Sta- 
tion E, Atlanta, GA 30307. (404) 627-2485. 

• FOR SALE: Chinon "Direct Sound" Super 8 
Camera and Eumig 824 Super 8 "Sonomatic" Pro- 
jector. 4 yrs. old, excellent condition. Best of- 
fer—we're reasonable! Pis. leave message at (718) 
728-4090. 

• FOR SALE: Mitchell 35mm BNC with reflex con- 
version. Two 1000 ft. mags, lens, 220V motor, and 
cases. Excellent condition, $5000. Call (212) 
795-2596. 

• FOR SALE: Sony DXC M 3 Camera (3 tube), Fu- 
jinon lens, carrying case, 30 ft camera extension 
cable, excellent condition. James (212) 924-1320, 
(201)963-6075. 

APRIL 1986 



• FOR SALE' Aaton LT-7 camera, (2) Aaton bat- 
teries, (2) Aaton battery chargers, (1) 9.5-57mm 
Angenieux zoom lens; complete $10,000 plus freight. 
Call Tom Sigel, Skylight Pictures (212) 947-5333. 

• FOR SALE: Aaton LTR 7, w/leather hand carry- 
ing case, 3 mags w/case eyepiece extension, 10-150 
mm, charger, batt., etc. excellent condition. Call 
Louis (202) 466-3595. 

• FOR SALE: 9.5-57mm Angenieux. Almost new. 
Excellent Condition. Call Louis (202) 466-3595. 

• BROADCAST EDIT SUITE: Two Sony 
BVU-200 A's/convergence ECS-90 controller, best 
offer over $6,000. TK-76 camera (Plumbicons), best 
offer over $1900. (717) 435-0592. 

Freelancers 

• EXPERIENCED FILM SOUNDMAN: Will 
work on your feature or documentary, recordist, 
boom, or playback. Excellent equipment available. 
Doug Tourtelot, (212) 489-0232. 

• CINEMATOGAPHER w/ Aaton 16mm camera, 
lights & van, always looking for interesting projects. 
Very experienced in docs, drama, foreign travel. I 
would love to shoot 1986's cult classic! Let's talk 
about specifics. Ned Miller, (312)433-3031, Chicago. 

• HISTORICAL PRODUCTION STYLIST/ 
CONSULTANT, Research and Script Review, 
Movement and Performance Coaching. Experienced 
Producer/Choreographer, Cultural Historian 
(Ph.D.), and Museum Curator. Granada History 
Productions, (703) 841-0044, or 1336 North Ode 
Street, Suite #9, Arlington, VA 22209. 

• CAMERMAN & SOUNDMAN: Aaton XTR & 
Nagra 4.2 with Aaton timecode base (SMPTE or 
Aaton clearime coding available). Save time and 
money in post-production with our state of the art 
equipment. Prefer documentary work. (212) 
532-2031 ask for Mark or Bram. 

• MAKE-UP/HAIR ARTIST will work on your 
feature, doc, music video or commercial. Experi- 
enced in special effects, period work, wigs, contem- 
porary beauty or character study. Location work no 
difficulty. (212) 736-1100, Janice King. 

• FILM TITLE SERVICES: Camera-ready art 
&/or shooting of titles. Many typefaces, design con- 
sultation, crawls. Reasonable rates, fast service. (212) 
460-8921, NYC. 

• ANIMATION & TITLES: Cel animation, motion 
graphics, and titles designed and/or filmed. Very 
reasonable rates. 10% discount for AIVF members. 
Call Michael Posch, (212) 684-0810, NYC. 

• BUDGETING BY COMPUTER: Producer with 
10 years exp. budgeting film and video. PBS 
specialist. State-of-the-art system can print personal- 
ly designed budgets for documentary or fiction. 
Make revisions at lightning speed. Ed Gray, (212) 
242-1376. 

• PRODUCTION: High quality V* " video and 
16mm film for independent and commercial pro- 
jects. Available for remote — local, national and in- 
ternational: narrative, documentary, industrials, 
dance. Transportation available. Call for rates. 
Jamie Maxtone-Graham, (718) 636-5590. 

• CINEMA TOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER: 

Award-winning work Freelancers includes indepen- 





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THE INDEPENDENT 



35 




Centre Productions is looking 

for a few good films . . . 

Call Ron Meyer at 800-824-1166 

Centre Productions Inc. • 1800 30th St. #207 Boulder, CO 80301 
Distributors of Award-Winning Films & Video Cassettes 



A Post- Production Center for 
independent and corporate filmmakers 

VALKHN FILM & VIDEO 

Award-winning editing staff 
Supervising editor Victor Kanefsky 

Facilities for 16 mm & 35 mm film, 

and 3/4" off-line video editing. 

— Rentals also available — 

1600 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019 

(212)586-1603 




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dent features, network magazine, documentary, etc. 
Complete 16mm Aaton package. Hal Landen (914) 
355-1400, NY. 

• FOR HIRE: Videographer with Hitachi Fp22 
camera, VHS and V* " production packages, trans- 
portation, willing to travel, from $300/day. Living 
Productions (212) 924-8861. 



Postproduction 



• MOVIOLA M-77 flatbeds for rent: 6-plate flat- 
beds for rent in your work space. Cheapest rates in 
NYC for independent filmmakers. Call: Philmaster 
Productions (212) 873-4470. 

• BOB BRODSKY AND TONI TREAD WAY 
Super 8 and 8mm film-to-video mastering with scene- 
by-scene corrections to Vt ", 1 " and high speed com- 
ponent. By appointment only. Call (617) 666-3372. 

• SOUND TRANSFERS: 16/35mm, 24/25/30 fps, 
center or edge track, state of the art equipment. 
Evening and weekend service available, convenient 
downtown location. Discount to AIVF and NABET 
members and for grant funded projects. Billy 
Sarokin; (212) 255-8698. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, Super 16, 
35mm cut for regular printing, blowup, or video 
transfer. Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wen- 
ders, and Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at reason- 
able rates. One White Glove, Tim Brennan, (718) 
897-4145, NYC. 

• WHY PAY FOR POSTPRODUCTION? Shoot/ 
edit/mix/score for barter instead. We rent some/all 
of your production equipment (i.e. a camera, studio 
raw stock, lights, etc.) or production talent, we pay 
with time in our state of the art, post production 
facility. (212) 675-1453. 

• 16MM EDITING: In Central Ohio. 6-plate 
Moviola flatbed, fully equipped bench. Reasonable 
rates. The Hunter Neil Company, (614) 294-3949. 

• STEENBECK EDITING ROOM RENTAL: Ful- 
ly equipped: 6-plate, telephone, 24 hr. access. Special 
rates for independents. Call (212) 473-2033. Ask for 
Bob. 

• 16MM EDITING ROOMS: Fully equipped with 
6-plate flatbed, complete bench w/synch, viewer, etc. 
24 hour access. Secure, convenient Upper West Side 
location (former location of Young Filmakers). New 
York's only up-the-block, round-the-clock editing 
facilities. Uptown Edit, 21 West 86th Street, NYC, 
(212) 580-2075. 

• HDTV ENTERPRISES, INC. introduces broad- 
cast quality Vt " editing with special effects — freeze- 
frame and slo-mo, at $50/hour with editor, or 
$30/hour hands-on. BVU-800/820 decks, TBC, 
fades, time code all included. Lincoln Center area, 
experienced editor. Call Hank Dolmatch, HDTV, 
(212) 874-4524. 



36 THE INDEPENDENT 



APRIL 1986 



TC 



E ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 



Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

Advocacy: lobbying in Washington and throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

Professional seminars and screenings 

Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 
to your needs (10 issues per year) 



^ 



There's strength in numbers. 



J 



oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

□ (Add $10.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 

□ $50/year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

□ $45/year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



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Send check or money order to: AIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, 
New York, NY 10012; or call (212) 473-3400. 






• 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are in- 
cluded as space permits. The Indepen- 
dent reserves the right to edit for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be respected. 
These are the 8th of month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., April 8 for June 
issue. Send notices to Independent Notices, 
FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY 
AND VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR seeks quality films & 
videos for distribution. Write Bennu Productions, 
Inc., 165 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. 

• THE TAPE EXCHANGE: Non-commercial 
videotapes by independents sought for inclusion in 
computerized database of programming available to 
California's local cable channels. Producers inter- 
ested in listing their videotapes should contact the 
Foundation for Community Service Cable Televi- 
sion, 5010 Gerry Blvd., Ste. 3, San Francisco, CA 
94118; (415) 387-0200. 

• INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTOR looking for 
new film & video works to join our other award- 
winners on nursing, health care, the environment, sex 
roles & parenting, women's & related issues. Contact 
Fanlight Productions, (617) 524-0980. 

• CINEMA VERITE weekly prime time TV series 
presenting works of independent filmmakers seeks 
films/ video tapes for programming consideration. 
(Documentaries, art & dance films, dramas, short 
subjects &/or works in progress, shot on video or 
film, are acceptable.) Please send V* " videotape 
w/SASE for return to Cinema Verite Int'l Inc., 444 
E. 86th Sti, Apt., 21 J, New York, NY 10028. 

• NIGHTFLIGHT seeks short tapes & films by 
students & young artists for "New Filmmakers" seg- 
ment on USA Cable. Those selected will receive 
$10/min. for use. Contact Carrie Franklin, ATI 
Video Ent., 888 7th Ave., New York, NY 10028; (212) 
977-2300. 

• CAMPUS NETWORK, a TV network that broad- 
casts exclusively to colleges & universities, is now ac- 
cepting 3 /4 " videos for programming. If accepted, 
producers will receive $17/min. for a 1-week exhibi- 
tion period. Contact Campus Network, c/o Steve 
Amateau, 114 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011; (212) 
206-1953. 

• ARTISTS VIDEOTAPE RENTALS store opens 
March '86 in hi-traffic Manhattan location. Seeking 
inventory: artists & indies on VHS format. Write for 
details: Colab TV, 285 Varet St., Brooklyn, NY 
11206. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• SOUTHWEST REGIONAL NFLCP CON- 
FERENCE: April 25-27, to be hosted this year by 
Austin Community TV. Contact Austin Community 
TV, Box 1076, Austin, TX 78767. 

APRIL 1986 



• NEW YORK INT'L HOME VIDEO MARKET: 
The first int'l exhibition of producers, publishers, 
distributors & wholesalers of non-theatrical & 
theatrical products. Will incl. variety of seminars on 
the home video industry. Sponsored by Bell & 
Howell/Columbia Picture Paramount Video 
Systems & VCA Technicolor. Contact Bailey Beeken, 
Nat'l Expositions Co., 49 W. 38th St., New York, NY 
10018; (212) 391-9111. 

• MARKETING & MANAGEMENT TRAINING 
COURSE sponsored by Media Alliance at the New 
School for Social Research, 66 W. 12th St., New 
York City, 5:30-7:30 pm. "Direct Marketing on a 
Limited Budget," Apr. 2; "Copywriting & 
Graphics," Apr. 9; "Public Relations," Apr. 16-30 
"A Brief History & Coping with Change," May 7 
"Fundraising Basics for Media Arts," May 14 
"Fundraising Management," May 21 & "Pragmatic 
Process," May 28. Contact Media Alliance, c/o 
WNET, 356 W. 58th St., New York, NY 10019; (212) 
560-2919. 

• FILM/VIDEO ARTS MEDIA TRAINING 
COURSES: Spring courses incl. The craft of 16mm 
film production, basics of portable video produc- 
tion, videocassette editing, 3-tube video cameras. 
Applications & information, (212) 673-9361, NYC. 

• INTERNATIONAL FILM WORKSHOPS: June 
& July 1986 in Rockport, Maine, For working pro- 
fessionals who want to develop greater skills w/in the 
field & advance their careers. One-2-week master 
classes & workshops, weekend seminars & clinics, in- 
cl. camera, scriptwriting, AC's clinic, film actors, 
production, lighting, AD/PM workshop, electronic 
cinematography, film director master classes & 
workshops, editing, Steadicam/Panaglide work- 
shop, TV news feature workshop, producing & di- 
recting for TV commercials & funding film projects. 
Int'l Film Workshops, Rockport, ME 04856; (207) 
236-8581. 

• NYS SUMMER SCHOOL OF MEDIA ARTS for 
high school students from the state. Six weeks, from 
June 22- Aug. 1, 1986 at the Ctr. for Media Study. 
State University at Buffalo & Media Study/Buffalo. 
Tuition is $1,000, incl. room, board, supplies & 
special events. Tuition assistance available ranging 
from $75 to full tuition. Contact Bob Reals or 
Marilee Hamelin, NYS Summer School of Media 
Arts, Rm. 681 EBA, State Educ. Dept., Albany, NY 
12234; (518) 474-8773. 

• FILM/VIDEO ARTS spring, 1986 media training 
incl. 16mm film production, "in-field" maintenance 
for professional cameras, portable video production, 
cameras. FVA, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 
10003-4797; (212) 673-9361. 



Resources • Funds 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE 
HUMANITIES: Media Program deadline for 1986, 
September 19 for projects to begin after April 1987. 
Contact NEH, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Wash- 
ington, DC 20506. 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS: 
Deadlines for 1986: Media Arts Centers & Nat'l Serv- 
ices, May 2; Radio Projects, July 18; Int'l U.S./ 
Japan Exchange for Media Arts, June 2; Expansion 
Arts, April 1. Contact NEA, 1100 Pennsylvania 
Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20506. 



^fanlighL^ 
Productions 



is looking for new film 

and video works to join our 

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independent productions on 

nursing 

health care 

the environment 

professional ethics 

women's studies 

sex roles 

parenting 

related issues 

Call or write before sending 
us your films or tapes. 

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47 Halifax Street 

Boston, MA 02130 

(617) 524-0980 




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THE INDEPENDENT 



37 



• FILM IN THE CITIES 1986 Regional Film/ Video 
grants to independent producers living in Iowa, Min- 
nesota, N. Dakota, S. Dakota & Wisconsin. Dead- 
line: April 14. Call or write Film in the Cities, 2388 
University Ave., St. Paul, MN 55114; (612) 646-6104. 

• CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCAST- 
ING Open Solicitations, next deadline: May 2, 1986. 
Contact CPB, 1111 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 
20036; (202) 293-6160. 

• NEW YORK COUNCIL FOR THE 
HUMANITIES 1986 proposal deadlines: June 1 & 
December 15. Contact NYCH, 198 Broadway, 10th 
fl., New York, NY 10038; (212) 233-1131. 

• NEW JERSEY STATE COUNCIL ON THE 
ARTS 1987 Matching Grant & Fellowship applica- 
tions available upon request. Call NJSCA, (609) 
292-6130 or 292-0495. Applications also avail, at 
New Jersey county libraries & arts agencies. 

• SOUTHWEST INTERDISCIPLINARY AR- 
TISTS FUND: Grants to interdisciplinary artists in 
AZ, CO, NM, UT. For guidelines and applications, 
contact Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe, 
1050 Old Pecos Trail, Box 148, Santa Fe, NM 87504; 
(505) 982-1338. 

• INTERDISCIPLINAR Y ARTS FELLO WSHIP 
PROGRAM: Grants to interdisciplinary artists in 
AR, KS, MO, NE, OK, TX. For guidelines and ap- 
plication, contact Diverse Works, 213 Travis St., 
Houston, TX 77002; (713) 223-8346. 

• FILM/ VIDEO ARTS FILM BUREAU: Grants 
for film rentals & speakers fees to nonprofit com- 
munity organizations in NYS. Priority given to 
groups showing works by independent filmmakers 
and/or works not ordinarily available. Must be open 
to public. Contact Film/Video Arts, 817 Broadway, 
New York, NY 10003; (212) 673-9361. 

• AMERICAN FEDERATION OF THE ARTS 

provides a 50% subsidy of film & video rentals to 
eligible nonprofit cultural organizations in New 
York. Contact AFA Film Program, 41 E. 65th St., 
New York, NY 10021; (212) 988-7700. 

• MEDIA BUREAUhas limited funds for presenta- 
tion of video or audio tapes, incl. installation, per- 
formances, workshops, short residencies, technical 
assistance, research projects, criticism in New York 
state only. Requests should be made at least 4 weeks 
prior to event. Contact Media Bureau, The Kitchen, 
512 W. 19th St., New York, NY 10011; (212) 
255-5793. 

• GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 
ART COMMISSIONS: Funds are available for com- 
missions for public art at federal sites throughout the 
US. Contact Don Thalacker, GSA Art in Architec- 
ture Program, 19 and F Sts., Washington, DC 20205. 

• NEW YORK COUNCIL ON THE HUMANI- 
TIES MINI-GRANT PROGRAM for grants up to 
$1,500. Proposal due 6 weeks before event. Contact 
NYCH, 198 Broadway, New York, NY 10038. 

• MACDOWELL COLONY RESIDENCIES dur- 
ing Sept., Oct. & Nov. for artists incl. filmmakers. 
Provides room, board & studio. Average stay: 6 wks. 
Accepted applicants asked to contribute toward 
costs. Contact MacDowell, Admissions Coor- 
dinator, 100 High St., Peterborough, NH 03458; 
(603) 924-3886 or (212) 966-4860. 

• MUSEUM OF BROADCASTING internships in 
curatorial, development, exhibitions, library ser- 
vices, public relations, public services, education & 
office of the director for summer 1986. Contact 
Karen St. Pierre, Director of Public Services, Muse- 

38 THE INDEPENDENT 



urn of Broadcasting, 1 E. 53 St., New York, NY 
10022; (212) 752-4690. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

• SANDINISTA ASSOCIATION OF CULTURAL 
WORKERS delegation of performers, artists & 
writers to Nicaragua, May 22- June 1 . Approximate 
cost, $ 1 ,000 incl. travel from New York City via Mex- 
ico City, food, lodging, group transportation & 
translation. Passport valid thru Dec. 1986 required. 
Call or write Ventana, 250 W. 54th St., #800, New 
York, NY 10019; (212) 586-3700. 

• VIDEO CAMERA OPERATOR wanted for 
documentary project & basic operation instruction. 
Experienced, capable of basic equipment mainten- 
ance. Video deck & sound operator, experienced. 
Resumes to Sidewalks of New York Prods., Box 968, 
Old Chelsea Sta., New York, NY 10113. 

• REAL-LIFE ADVENTURE FILMS: Need crew 
w/good health for separate docu-dramas in the 
Amazon River, sailing in the Caribbean & Africa. 
Summer & winter, 1986-87. Pay & expenses. If own 
equipment, helpful but not necessary. Write to 
Robert Monticello Productions, Box 372, New York, 
NY 10014. 

• NON- UNION B& WFEA TURE needs cinematog- 
rapher w/strong B&W samples on reel. Contact 
Franco Productions, Box 2253, Stuyvesant Sta., 
New York, NY 10009. 

• EXPERIENCED VIDEOMAKERS needed for a 
major international project in the US & around the 
world. Have to own Vt " or VHS equipment (for 2 
different tasks). Also those who own equipment & 
are willing to learn the skills should apply. Please 
specify make of equipment, system (PAL or NTSC), 
facility, resume or curriculum vitae, availability of 
time & separate daily rates for you & your equip- 
ment. Write to ZIP, Box 74, Cathedral Sta., New 
York, NY 10025-0074. 

• SUPER 8 PRODUCTION: Independent producer 
seeking volunteer(s); actors, cinematographers, 
sound mixer, gaffer(s), special effects design, art 
direct or(s), make-up & hairstylist & other crew posi- 
tions. Send resume or letter to Gaspar Productions, 
Box 3764, Chatsworth, CA 91313-3764. 

• ARTIST CALL FOR NON-INTERVENTION 
IN CENTRAL AMERICA is seeking creative in- 
dividuals who are interested in actively participating 
in projects to raise funds for material support to ar- 
tists/technicians in Nicaragua, to organize exhibi- 
tions of Nicaraguan artists' work here in the US, 
cultural exchanges, etc. CHISPA, 318 E. 6th St., Box 
191, New York, NY 10003. 

Publications 

• O VER VIEW OF ENDO WMENT PROGRAMS 

w/brief descriptions of 42 separate funding pro- 
grams, application deadlines, phone directory, etc. 
avail, free from NEH Overview, Rm. 409, NEH, 
1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 
20506; (202) 786-0438. 

• MODERN DANCE & BALLET ON FILM & 
VIDEO catalogue w/listings of more than 500 titles 
avail, from Dance Films Assn., Inc. $19.95 for 
nonmembers, $17.95 for DFA members, add $5 out- 
side US. Order from DFA, 241 E. 34th St., New 
York, NY 10016; (212) 686-7019. 

• MEDIA DISTRIBUTION COOP offers inexpen- 
sive do-it-yourself publicity resources for musicians, 



filmmakers & writers. Incl. specialized mailing lists, 
bibliographies & other publications. Also offers sev- 
eral publications, incl. Alternative Video Distribu- 
tions, New Sources for Writers, Obtaining College 
Radio Airplay, etc. Write Media Distribution Coop, 
2912 Daubenbiss, Soquel, CA 95073. 

• AUDIO DESIGN: Publication on sound & sound 
recording for film & video. Two-part college-level 
workbook devoted to technology & technique of 
audio design & sound recording. $28.00 postpaid. 
Avail, from Crosscountry, 724 Bloomfield St., 
Hoboken, NJ 07030; (201) 659-4430. 

• THE INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS GUIDE 
TO SUPER 8 incl. information on equipment, film 
festivals & lab services in the US & Canada. Price: $5. 
Avail, from Small Format Audio- Visual, 95 Harley 
St., Cambridge, MA 02140. 

• 1986 VIDEO EXHIBITION DIRECTOR Y pub- 
lished by Video Networks of the Bay Area Video 
Coalition. Lists over 50 nat'l exhibitors of indepen- 
dent work. Mailing labels also available. Price: $4 
plus postage & handling. Send check or money to 
BAVC, 1111 17th St., San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 
861-3282. 

• CHICAGO NEWSLETTER: Monthly publica- 
tion of Chicago Area & Film Video Network. Avail, 
to members. Contact CAFVN, Box 10657, Chicago, 
IL 60610; (312) 661-1828. 

• ASIAN AMERICAN MEDIA REFERENCE 
GUIDE: More than 570 titles produced in past 50 yrs. 
w/distribution information. Covers all major Asian 
ethnic groups. Price: $14.95 plus $2 postage & han- 
dling. Write Asian Cine Vision, 32 E. Broadway, New 
York, NY 10002; (212) 925-8685. 

• KNOWLEDGE INDUSTRY PUBLICATIONS 
has released 2 new publications, The Video Register 
1985-86, a directory of the professional video in- 
dustry & Guide to Videotape. Contact Knowledge In- 
dustry Publications, Inc., 701 Westchester Ave., 
White Plains, NY 10604. 

• THE ART OF FILING tax workbook for visual, 
performing, literary artists & other self-employed 
professionals. $9.95, plus 6% sales tax for Minnesota 
residents & $1 .50 postage. R&C/UA, 41 1 Landmark 
Ctr., 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul, MN 55102; (612) 
292-4381. 



Trims & Glitches 



• KUDOS to the 8 AI VF members out of 14 winners 
of the American Film Institute's Independent Film- 
maker Program grants: Arthur Dong, Eleanor 
Gaver, Brian Jones, Stephen Olsson, Marco 
Williams, Gary Hill, Flip Johnson & Juan Downey. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to Deanna Morse, reci- 
pient of Michigan Council for the Arts Creative Ar- 
tist grant. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to finalists in the first 
round of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
Open Solicitation for FY 1986: Jill Godmilow, 
Catherine Tatge, Aviva Slesin, James Culp, 
Lawrence R. Hott & Tony Silver. 

• SEVEN AIVF MEMBERS have been awarded 
grants from the New York Council for the Humani- 
ties: Diana Agosta, Katherine Kline, Stephen Brier, 
Orinne J.T. Takagi, Peter Davis, Penee Bender & 
Gerry Pallor. Congratulations! 



APRIL 1986 



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MEMORANDA 



CLASSIFIED ADS 

The Independent's Classifieds col- 
umn includes all listings for the "Buy • 
Rent •Sell," "Freelancers," and 
"Postproduction" categories. It is restrict- 
ed to members only. Each entry has a 
2 SO- word limit and costs $15 per 
Issue. Payment must be made at time 
of submission. Anyone wishing to run a 
classified more than once must pay for 
each insertion and indicate the number 
of insertions on the submitted copy. 
Each classified must be typed, double- 
spaced, and worded exactly as it 
should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be re- 
spected. These are the 8th of each 
month, two months prior to cover date, 
e.g., March 8 for May issue. Make check 
or money order-no cash, please -pay- 
able to FIVF and send to: Independent 
Classifieds, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th 
floor. New York, NY 10012. 



HEALTH INSURANCE 
FOR AIVF MEMBERS 

AIVF now offers its members an excellent 
Group Life & Medical Insurance Plan. 
Highlights include: 

•$1,000,000 Major Medical Plan, which pays 
85% of all eligible expenses not covered by the 
Basic Plan 

•$10,000 Group Life and $10,000 Group Ac- 
cidental Death or Dismemberment Insurance 
•Partial psychiatric coverage 
•Reimbursement for illness, injury & hospital 
expenses. 

• If you are a member, write AIVF Health 
Plan, TEIGIT, 551 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 
10017. If you're not, call AIVF at (212) 473-3400 
and ask for free membership & health plan 
brochures. 

HELP WANTED 

AIVF needs volunteers to help around the of- 
fice, assist with our seminars and workshops, 
and work on the 1986 Indie Awards evening in 
May. If you have some spare time and would like 
to help AIVF and your fellow members, please 
call Larry Sapadin at (212) 473-3400 weekdays 
between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 



PUT YOUR MONEY 
WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS 

AIVF members and their families in New York 
and New Jersey are now eligible to participate 
in the New York Dental Plan. 

Coverage includes: 

• Up to 50% off the cost of all dental work 
without limitations or restrictions 

• One free check-up including x-rays, clean- 
ing, and an examination 

• Free consultation with a plan specialist 

• Large savings on all speciality work in- 
cluding periodontics, orthodontics, en- 
dodontics, oral surgery, implants, and 
cosmetic dentistry 

Coverage is accepted by over 800 top, private 
offices throughout New York State and New 
Jersey. 

Rates are as follows: 

Individuals $55/year 

Couples/2 Household members $95 /year 

Family (up to 4 members) $145/year 

For more information, write or call AIVF, 625 
Broadway, 9th fl, New York, NY 10012; (212) 
473-3400. 



THE 1986 AIVF ANNUAL INDIE AWARDS 

A CELEBRATION OF INDEPENDENT FILM AND VIDEO PRODUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES 

EDWARD JAMES OLMOS 

Emmy Award-winning Lt. Martin Castillo on Miami Vice, will receive 
AlVF's Special Board of Directors Award for his work on behalf of American 

independent video and filmmakers. 

Wednesday evening, May 21, 1986 

Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street 

New York, New York 

Reception following the presentation will be held upstairs at 

the New York University Club. 

Ticket prices: $35 (member), $50 (non-member), $100 (benefactor) 
AIVF members will receive invitations in the mail. 
For more information, call AIVF, (212) 473-3400. 



40 THE INDEPENDENT 



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moment, but the relationship between 
devoted daughter Sachiko and her ever- 
watchful mother is never through. In the 
world of this and other tapes in Mako 
Idemitsu's "Great Mother" series, the 
looming inner presence of mama trans- 
lates into the ubiquity of TV screens within 
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SNDEPENDENf 



MAY 1986 

VOLUME 9, NUMBER 4 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Debra Goldman 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Andrea Estepa 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St., 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF),625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1986 

AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa, membership services; 
Charlayne Haynes, program director; Sol Horwitz, 
Short Film Showcase project administrator; Debra 
Goldman, Short Film Showcase administrative 
assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter, 
president; Christine Choy, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Brenda Webb, secretary; Joyce 
Bolinger, treasurer; St. Clair Bourne; Loni Ding,' Pearl 
Bowser; Howard Petrick Robin Reidy; Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio); Barton Weiss. 

MAY 1986 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

12 First Person Singular: Autobiography in Film 
by David Schwartz 

16 Talking Union: NABET, IATSE, and Independent Media 

by Lucinda Furlong 

2 MEDIA CLIPS 

Person to Chelovek: Satellite Diplomacy 

by Donna A. Demac 

Station Hesitation on Theme Nights 

by Renee Tajima 

Bringing the Underground Home 

by Debra Goldman 

Access in the Empire State 
Round 3 at Film Forum 2 
Sequels 

7 LETTERS 

8 IN FOCUS 

Refining a Classic: SMPTE '85, Part 2 

by David Leitner 

lO LEGAL BRIEFS 

The Screen Actors Guild's New Independent Contract 

19 FESTIVALS 

Close Encounters: The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar 

by David Schwartz 

Fear and Loathing at Figueira da Foz 

by Wendy Udell 

Northern Highlights: The Festival of Festivals 

by Robert Aaronson 

Turin: Sneak Previews 
In Brief 

27 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Andrea Estepa 

28 CLASSIFIEDS 

29 NOTICES 




COVER: In "Poto and Cabengo," the story of twin girls who develop their own private language, 
filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorln synthesized autobiographical and documentary approaches to 
create a personal film essay. David Schwartz discusses the making of first person documentaries 
in "First Person Singular: Autobiography in Film." Photo courtesy filmmaker. 

THE INDEPENDENT 



MEDIA CLIPS 



PERSON TO CHELOVEK: SATELLITE DIPLOMACY 



Last December on a cold evening in Leningrad, 
130 Russians gathered in a television studio to 
meet with a group of people in Seattle via 
satellite hook-up. This was the ninth in a series of 
"spacebridges" aimed at spanning the social and 
cultural differences between people in the two 
superpower nations. "Spacebridges" are tele- 
conferences designed to provide an alternative to 
the controlled messages of one-way information 
transmissions and government statements. 
These events have come about through the ef- 
forts of independent producers who have shown 
their technical feasibility and obtained Soviet 
participation through visits to that country. 

The Leningrad event was the most daring yet. 
Whereas earlier teleconferences linking scien- 
tists, journalists, rock and roll enthusiasts, and 
school children had intentionally avoided con- 
troversial issues, this time no topic was off limits. 
Titled the Citizens' Summit, this event was con- 
ceived by Ed Wierzbowski and Pam Roberts, 
partners in a video production company in Col- 
rain, Massachusetts, known as the Documentary 
Guild. In order to bring the project to wider 
public attention, they persuaded Phil Donahue 
to act as host at the Seattle end. Vladimir Posner, 
a political commentator who has become 
familiar to Americans through his regular ap- 
pearances on Nightline, was the Soviet 
moderator. 

These events have often afforded significant 
opportunities for collaboration. Concerned 
about the possibility of programmed statements, 
Donahue insisted on sending over a team that 
worked with representatives of Gosteleradio to 
select the participants by visiting factories, 
schools, and other locales. Marilyn Henderson, 
Donahue's chief consultant on this project, said 
she encountered no resistance from the Soviet 
authorities in her choice of locations, in the ac- 
tual interviews, or in the final selections. Unfor- 
tunately, nothing was said about this during the 
program, so that those who watched had no no- 
tion that such unprecedented teamwork had 
taken place. Collaboration also took place on 
the technical end. The U.S. crew in Leningraa 
included Wierzbowski, technical consultant Kim 
Spencer, who heads Internews video production 
company in New York City, and Tyrone Mor- 
tensen, the chief engineer at KING-TV in Se- 
attle. 

The Soviet principals, in addition to Posner, 
were Pavel Korchagin and Sergei Skvortov, two 
officials in the foreign relations branch of 
Gosteleradio. Since working on the first 
U.S./Soviet "spacebridge" in 1982, they had 
become the key Soviet contacts for the pro- 

2 THE INDEPENDENT 



grams, with responsibility for preparation of the 
edited versions that are broadcast on Soviet 
television. According to Skvortov, over 100 
million Russians have watched each program. 

The U.S. and Russian participants in Citizens' 
Summit spoke to one another for two and a half 
hours, while observing each other on 9 x 12-foot 
screens. Donahue began by posing questions, 
making sure to raise subjects of interest to many 
Americans, including the Soviet invasion of 
Afghanistan and the treatment of Soviet 
dissidents. But participants then spoke directly 
to each other across the 44,000 satellite miles be- 
tween them. A fisherman from Alaska said he 
was participating in the program to know more 
about the lives of his Russian counterparts; 
others talked about their work as teachers or 
hospital workers. A Russian painter commented 
that he would like to paint the "strong" faces of 
some of the Americans. 

People on both sides adjusted readily to the 
technological constraints of the conversation. 
More difficult, however, was contending with 
fixed expectations. On the U.S. side, for exam- 
ple, several people challenged the Russians' abil- 
ity to speak freely, contending that Americans 
enjoyed much more freedom of speech. The 
Russians countered by hinting at U.S. naivete 
about their alleged freedoms. Such moments of 
heated exchange were perhaps unavoidable as 
these people in the two nations had their first op- 
portunity to test their own assumptions and ask 
questions directly of their supposed global op- 
ponents. 

If all goes well, there will be more oppor- 
tunities for such exchanges in the future. The 
Soviet government has made a serious commit- 
ment to produce more teleconferences in keep- 
ing with its new media policies. Also, the 
Leningrad-Seattle event was the first "space- 
bridge" shown on commercial television stations 
in the U.S.; more than 80 stations aired edited 
versions of the program in January. Those who 
had missed the program had another chance 
when it was shown on PBS stations in April. 

Now in the planning stage is a "spacebridge" 
that will link two families in their homes in 
Philadelphia and Leningrad. The U.S. director 
of this program is Robert Greenwald of Burning 
Bed fame. Other programs are being explored by 
members of Congress as well as by several 
citizens' organizations. "Spacebridge" pro- 
ducers hope that these will become regular inter- 
national events in the future. 

— Donna A. Demac 

Donna A. Demac is a communications lawyer in 



New York City who was in Leningrad to report 
on the Citizens' Summit. 



STATION HESITATION ON 
THEME NIGHTS 

Balance is a word often heard from public affairs 
programmers at the Public Broadcasting Serv- 
ice. The halo of responsibility surrounding the 
term shines so bright that PBS gatekeepers seem 
unaware that the public airwaves might legiti- 
mately serve as a forum for the often partisan 
views of a very disparate public. Balance could 
mean a variety of viewpoints within the pro- 
gramming schedule. But PBS's preferred defini- 
tion calls for a balance of viewpoints within a 
single program, as if airing a social issue docu- 
mentary with a point of view put the good judge- 
ment of the public at risk. As a result, public tele- 
vision faces another kind of risk — the loss of the 
most provocative and exciting programs. 

KQED-San Francisco producer Steve Talbot, 
a long-time advocate of independent produc- 
tion, has come up with an alternative to the PBS 
programming prescription. Five years ago, while 
looking for ways to get controversial documen- 
taries by independents on the air, Talbot devel- 
oped a concept he called the theme night: a block 
of time devoted to two or more programs that 
present various, conflicting approaches to a par- 
ticular topic. The concept was immensely pop- 
ular in San Francisco, and Talbot has hosted the 
show locally on a regular basis. Last year PBS, 
looking for an alternative to awkward and ex- 
pensive wraparounds, agreed to commit pro- 
gram development funds to three theme nights 
for national distribution. 

Although almost every affiliate across the 
country picked up last fall's "The Abortion Bat- 
tle" and April's "Flashpoint: Israel and the 
Palestinians," a few major stations refused 
them. KTCA-St. Paul, for example, declined to 
air either package. James Russell, senior vice 
president and station manager, explains, "We 
don't believe that the mere juxtaposition of two 
opposing viewpoints is necessarily either a 
balanced approached or that it produces en- 
lightenment on the issue." 

Most of the controversy has centered on 
"Flashpoint," which featured three films: David 
Koff's Occupied Palestine, representing the 
Palestinian perspective on the conflict in the 
Middle East, and a pair of Israeli films, Two 
Settlements, which reflects the views of the Is- 

MAY 1986 




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raeli religious settler movement, and Peace Con- 
flict, portraying differing viewpoints within 
Israel, from the hardline of religious settlers to 
Zionist socialists' willingness to negotiate with 
the Palestine Liberation Organization. 

Two of the largest stations, WET A- Washing- 
ton and WNET-New York, rejected the package. 
Joyce Campbell, senior vice president and sta- 
tion manager at WETA, which did air "Abor- 
tion Battle," said her station would not take 
"Flashpoint" because, ' 'We think all three films 
are weak and outdated. We felt that none of 
them addressed the issues that are pertinent to- 
day." Lois Bianchi, director of programming at 
WNET had similar criticisms. She felt that the 
films in both theme nights were out of date, as 
well as consisting of particularly strident opin- 
ions on both sides. "We feel that in broadcasting 
two and a half hours on a subject of this import- 
ance, we're sending a message to our audience 
that this is a full and balanced view of the issue," 
she said. 

Talbot believes that "Flashpoint" 's detractors 
have missed the point, for the program was 
never meant to be a definitive examination of the 
subject. "The whole idea, which WNET and 
WETA have not quite grasped, is that we look 
for partisan films by independents who are in- 
volved in a particular cause, whether you call it 
'freedom of speech TV or an 'op-ed piece of the 
air.'" Both Campbell and Bianchi contend that 
their stations object to the specific packages, not 
to the concept itself, and will continue to look 
for other films on the subject. But Beverly Orn- 
stein, executive producer of "Flashpoint," 
notes, "We combed the world looking for films 
for this special. If they're looking for other par- 
tisan films on the subject, I wish them luck." 



Is the Middle East too hot to handle for the 
theme night idea? Koff believes that the station's 
greatest reticence is provoked by Occupied 
Palestine, which won an award from the PLO. 
Bianchi thinks Occupied Palestine "is clear- 
ly a propaganda film." She criticized the film for 
"distortions and errors" and for its implication 
that "Israeli policy reflects a deliberate system of 
annihilation. That's a serious charge, like accus- 
ing them of genocide." Koff disagrees, calling 
Occupied Palestine "the first opportunity on 
American broadcast television for the Pales- 
tinians to speak for themselves," and charges 
that the stations are setting themselves up as 
political censors. "There are legitimate dif- 
ferences of viewpoints on the Palestinian ques- 
tion. But if it doesn't comply with what they feel 
is the truth, they won't put it on." 

KTCA's Russell dismisses charges of censor- 
ship. "We don't buy that notion. We air over 
7,000 hours of programs a year, so it is more a 
question of which program to carry, not which 
program to censor." Campbell, whose station is 
located in politically sensitive Washington, 
denies any fear of repercussions for broadcasting 
material sympathetic to the Palestinians, saying, 
"We're in business to take pressure and that 
doesn't bother us." However, Talbot maintains 
that the explosiveness of the issue is still a factor. 
"It's amazing. To touch the Middle East is like 
touching a livewire." Perhaps anticipating the 
sensitivity of the Middle East material, KQED 
provided stations with an option to localize the 
show. Each component was delivered individ- 
ually, giving stations an opportunity to produce 
their own wraparound or even use KQED copy 
read by a local reporter. They also distributed 
resource kits that included names of organiza- 



THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1986 



tions, experts, and other films representing both 
Palestinian and Israeli perspectives. KCET-Los 
Angeles, for example, replaced the 1977 film 
Peace Conflict with Amron Nowak 's Israel and 
the Palestinians— The Continuing Conflict, and 
added the "Frontline" program The Arabs and 
the Israelis. 

Despite their reservations, WETA, KTCA, 
and WNET will still consider airing the next 
theme night, which Talbot and coordinating 
producer Julie Dejoie have already begun to 
research. At this point they plan to focus on 
either the debate on nuclear disarmament or 
Central America. 

— Renee Tajima 



BRINGING THE 
UNDERGROUND HOME 

When it became clear a couple of years ago that 
home video was going to be big business, the 
studios rushed to their vaults to resurrect past 
hits on cassette. Today, as home video's growth 
continues to outstrip even the most optimistic 
predictions of the marketing wizards, classic 
avant-garde titles familiar to a generation of 
cinema students are now being made available to 
a wider public courtesy the cassette revolution. 

In March, Mystic Fire Video, a new "video 
publishing house" spearheaded by underground 
film scene veterans Sheldon Rochlin and Maxine 
Harris, launched a new line of avant-garde home 
video releases with Kenneth Anger's "Magick 
Lantern Cycle." The four- volume set includes 
nine of Anger's films, ranging from the pre- 
cocious Fireworks, made when he was 17, to the 
sixties shocker Scorpio Rising. It was followed 
by the complete films of Maya Deren, transfer- 
red from newly restored negatives that, accord- 
ing to Rochlin, will provide better quality copies 
of Deren's films than have been available in 
many years. Films documenting the Living 
Theatre, including Rochlin 's own Paradise Now, 
Jonas Mekas's The Brig, and the biographical 
Signal Through the Flames, round out the initial 
releases of what Rochlin calls a catalogue 
devoted to "the cream of the avant garde." 

Mystic Fire began last year with a series of 
tapes dealing with "spiritual journeys," like7a«- 
tra ofGyuto: Sacred Rituals of Tibet and Nepal: 
Land of the Gods. Their success in selling the 
tapes in occult bookstores and through the mail 
convinced Rochlin and a circle of interested 
friends that the growing number of VCR owners 
could support special interest tapes, even 
without the benefit of exposure in home video 
retail outlets. An ad for the Anger series in the 
New York City gay weekly The Advocate, as well 
as others placed in film monthlies, drew a good 
response, and the company hopes that a mailing 

MAY 1986 



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targeted at university film departments will also 
generate interest. 

Thus far the start-up financing for the venture 
has come out of the group's own pocket, and 
much of it has been spent on the restoration of 
sometimes badly deteriorated negatives. But, 
after signing new exclusive home video distribu- 
tion contracts with filmmakers Shirley Clarke, 
Carolee Schneemann, and Amy Greenfield, the 
rapidly expanding business is looking for in- 
vestors with a love of film art and a little venture 
capital. "We model ourselves after the early 
Grove Press," Rochlin explained. "We know 
we're not going to make millions, but if we can 
sell a few hundred tapes of each title, we can do 
well for the filmmakers and ourselves . ' ' 

— Debra Goldman 



ACCESS IN THE EMPIRE 
STATE 

The data is in for PARTICIPATE, the long- 
awaited "Public Access: Report on the Involve- 
ment of Communities in Producing Alternative 
Television," on cable access in New York State. 
One hundred forty-one of the state's approx- 
imately 150 cable systems have responded to the 
survey, the result of over a year's persistence by 
project directors Caryn Rogoff, Diana Agosta, 
and Abigail Norman. 

PARTICIPATED preliminary statistics on the 
status and potential for public access in New 
York show mixed results. According to Rogoff, 
"There are channels and resources for producing 
access, and diverse groups and individuals — ur- 
ban and rural, upstate and downstate — are mak- 
ing and showing access programs. But, while 
we've found basic resources for access in most 
places, we have also found a lack of commitment 
and support for the development of access as a 
vital community communications medium." 

The project's findings show that 76 of the 
cable operators in New York have access 
channels, serving approximately 64 percent of 
the state's cable subscribers. Many of these 
provide production equipment, but cable com- 
panies rarely let the public know that they are 
available and often make it difficult to use the 
facilities. PARTICIPATE identified only 15 sys- 
tems that provide comprehensive support for ac- 
cess, including training, regularly scheduled time 
slots, and outreach and publicity. The volume of 
access programming ranged from the typical sys- 
tem, which has one to 10 hours of programming 
per week, to the two Manhattan systems, Group 
W and Manhattan Cable, which offer 20 hours 
per day, seven days a week. Rogoff points out 
that the systems with more support for access 
tend to have more programming. She uses Sche- 
nectady as an example, where a group of media 




The remarkable women of one Brooklyn 
community are profiled in Christine Nos- 
chese's "Metropolitan Avenue," which show- 
cased at Film Forum 2. 

Courtesy filmmaker 

activists formed a nonprofit organization to pro- 
vide additional equipment and training for com- 
munity users. This group has also acted as access 
advocates, beginning with the franchise process. 
Social service agencies there have produced over 
200 programs, public service announcements, 
and community bulletin board announcements 
in the past year alone. 

This summer the PARTICIPATE staff will 
turn their survey results into an analytical report 
on access in New York and a directory that in- 
cludes listings of public access channels, cable 
systems, media art centers, local arts councils, as 
well as universities, schools, and libraries that 
have equipment for loan or are willing to par- 
ticipate in cooperative projects. They are now 
organizing a series of workshops, beginning with 
a well-attended day-long event in Buffalo last 
month and another planned in May designed for 
state legislators and local community people in 
Albany. — RT 



ROUND 3 AT FILM FORUM 2 

In February, Films, Inc. became the third New 
York-based distributor to take over the lease to 
Film Forum 2, the downtown Manhattan the- 
ater. Film Forum 2 is the commercial space own- 
ed by the nonprofit exhibitor Film Forum, which 
programs year-round screenings next door. New 
Yorker Films was the first tenant, beginning in 
1981 when Film Forum built the twin cinema. 
Cinema 5, now owned by Almi, followed last 
year with a short-lived tenancy, showing a mixed 
bag of "moveover" films from uptown theaters, 
such as Prizzi's Honor and The Young Sherlock 
Holmes. 

Films, Inc. programmer John Pierson has 
returned Film Forum 2 to an art house/repertory 
schedule. Its debut run, the Mystery of Picasso, 
will be followed by an eight-week retrospective 

MAY 1986 



of films by Akira Kurosawa and a one-week run 
of the independent documentary Metropolitan 
Avenue, by Christina Noschese. 

— RT 



SEQUELS 



When the must-carry rule, mandating that cable 
systems carry all local broadcast signals, was 
declared unconstitutional last year ["Must- 
Carry to Go," October 1985], communications 
industry observers predicted war between the 
cable and broadcast industries. For the time be- 
ing, however, the battle has ended not in a bang 
but a handshake. After months of negotiations, 
cable and broadcast trade organizations have 
agreed to modifications of the rule. According to 
the compromise, all cable systems with 20 or 
more channels, one-third of all systems in opera- 
tion, are totally exempt from the rule. Systems 
with 21 to 26 activated channels are not required 
to carry more than seven, and those with more 
than 26 channels need not devote more than 25 
percent to broadcast signals. The modified rule 
has yet to be tested in court, and Federal Com- 
munications Commission chair Mark Fowler ex- 
pressed serious misgivings, warning that the 
industries were sacrificing their claim to full First 
Amendment rights for immediate gains. Nor 
were public television officials pleased at being 
completely excluded from the negotiations, de- 
spite the fact that PT Vs many UHF affiliates are 
likely to suffer most under the proposed revi- 
sions. Little progress has been reported at the 
subsequent talks between the National Cable 
Television Association and the National As- 
sociation of Public Television Stations. 



LETTERS 

SAG SPEAKS 

To the editor: 



I was extremely pleased to see the article entitled 
"Talking Union: The Screen Actors Guild and 
Independent Films" in the March issue of The 
Independent. Furlong did a commendable job in 
representing the various points of view of the 
parties involved. I would like, however, to clarify 
a few possible misinterpretations. 

1. The terms of the Independent Producers' 
Agreement do not apply "only to SAG 
members of the cast." As a labor union, the 

MAY 1986 



Guild represents not only its own members 
but also all professionals rendering acting 
services. Consequently, the terms of the con- 
tract apply to all those professionals, whether 
members of SAG, AFTRA, Equity, other 
unions, or not affiliated with any union at 
all. Excluded from the contract are non- 
professionals or "trainees" rendering ac- 
ting services. There is, by the way, no limit 
on the number of non-professionals/train- 
ees who can be cast. 

2. The 11 percent contribution to the Guild's 
Pension and Health Plan is not deducted 
from the individual actors total gross 
wages. The contribution is made solely by 
the producer, not by the performer. 

3. It should be made clear that the Guild's 
agreement to accept Far from Poland as a 
SAG film after it had been completed was a 
unique instance. I would not want other 
filmmakers to assume that they could com- 
plete their projects and subsequently ap- 
proach the Guild. The essence of the In- 
dependent Producers' Agreement is co- 
operation. This begins with the pre-produc- 
tion period. I strongly urge all filmmakers 
to contact us as early in the pre-production 
process as possible. 

4. We declined to sign Working Girls because 
of its particularly graphic sexual scenes, not 
because we considered it erotic or "pleasing 
to the male eye." 

Finally, the Guild also offers a special Affir- 
mative Action Low Budget Agreement with 
lower scale rates and less stringent work rules 
for full-length features budgeted under 
$1.5-million. To qualify, the producers must 
employ a higher ratio of ethnic minorities, 
women, senior performers, and/or performers 
with disabilities. 

We are sympathetic to the needs of indepen- 
dent filmmakers. We try very hard to balance 
those needs with the protection and respect that 
professional actors deserve. Together we can 
assure that the art of filmmaking will become 
increasingly vital and vibrant. 

— John H. Sucke 

Executive Secretary 

Screen Actors Guild 

New York City 

Editor's note: 

The Independent Limited Exhibition Agreement 
is reprinted in full in the "Legal Briefs" column 
on p. 10 of this issue. Producers requiring addi- 
tional information about the terms of this agree- 
ment should contact Lawrence Sapadin at 
AIVF, (212) 473-3400, or Eugene Aleinikoff, 
(212) 744-2805. 



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IN FOCUS 



REFINING A CLASSIC: SMPTE '85, Part 2 



David Leitner 



Only a decade ago the major floorspace at the 
Society of Motion Picture and Television En- 
gineers annual equipment exhibit was occupied 
by manufacturers of motion picture equipment. 
Video exhibitors literally and figuratively sat on 
the sidelines. Last October's exhibit in Los An- 
geles, however, was an electronic landscape of 
flickering video monitors and towers emblazoned 
with the logos of familiar electronics giants. A 
signal that film's heyday is over? Not exactly. 
Unlike video, film technology is mature. As a 
consequence of the world-wide standardization 
of film formats, the basic tools of film do not 
grow obsolete before they're paid for. The oldest 
film device, if not exactly shiny, is often as func- 
tional as the newest: if you don't have the first 
Editdroid on the block, an upright Moviola 
from the thirties will do. You can even thread 
your 1912 Bell & Howell 2709 camera with the 
latest high-speed emulsion from Kodak. If to- 
day's film equipment exhibitions are a little short 
on high-tech, if they lack the razzle-dazzle of a 
video equipment bazaar, perhaps they elicit ex- 
citement of a different sort, the quiet thrill of 
refining the classic yet still robust technical art of 
cinema. 

Kodak, for one, is still perfecting the product 
it first produced almost a century ago. Indeed, 
the most significant new film technology at 
SMPTE '85 comprised the three new Kodak 
films: a new high-speed 16mm film negative 
7292, a forthcoming 35mm version of the same, 
designated 5295, and an improved positive/dupe 
negative intermediate stock that retains the des- 
ignation 7243/5243. Significantly, all three in- 
corporate for the first time in a motion picture 
product the T-grain technology that Kodak pio- 
neered several years ago with its groundbreaking 
1000 ASA color negative for still photography. 
T-grain silver-halide crystals are specially flat- 
tened into a unusual tablet shape. They present a 
broader surface area to the light source than or- 
dinary granular crystals and are consequently 
more photosensitive. Since their flat surfaces are 
aligned to face the light source, film speed can in- 
crease without the penalty of increased graini- 
ness for the very first time. And because of the 
flat T-grain profile, thinner emulsions are pos- 
sible, reducing intra-emulsion light scatter for 
even sharper images. 

The new 16mm negative 7292, which super- 
cedes the 7294 introduced at SMPTE '82, is 
rated at tungsten Exposure Index 320, the same 
as 7294. However, due to T-grain technology, 
Kodak claims improvements in graininess — es- 
8 THE INDEPENDENT 



pecially in underexposure — and sharpness. The 
maximum resolving power (i.e., under high-con- 
trast conditions) of the new 7292 is listed as 125 
line pairs per mm, as compared to 100 l.p./mm 
for both 7294 and the slower, finer-grained 7291 . 
(If only lenses could consistently resolve as 
much!) 7292 has been trade-tested since the spring 
of 1985 and available in Europe since Septem- 
ber; it should be widely available in the U.S. by 
this spring. (My early split-screen tests suggest 
that, compared to 7294, 7292 reproduces an im- 
age of slightly increased contrast and color 
saturation, with improvements in graininess that 
are not always easily discernable.) 

The forthcoming 5295 35mm negative incor- 
porates the improvements of 7292 for a very 
special purpose. Like the fine-grained Eastman 
Background Negative of 1933 that was designed 
to satisfy the specific needs of rear screen projec- 
tion, 5295 was formulated to facilitate the 
modern blue screen process. Like 5204, it is rated 
tungsten E.I. 400, but due to the new T-grain ar- 
chitecture of its yellow and magenta layers, it is 
finer-grained, sharper, and enhanced with an ex- 
tended blue-green sensitivity. This combination 
of high speed — two stops more than 5247 — and 
fine grain will permit greater depth-of-field for 
elements filmed for blue screen compositing. 
Undoubtably, 5295 will become the emulsion of 
choice for special effects cinematography, if not 
for all low-light work. Also, according to 
Kodak's press release, 5295 will feature "ex- 
tremely high quality perforations, which exceed 
ANSI standards by at least 50 percent . . . since it 
is necessary to maintain exceptionally tight 
tolerances during what could be many passes 
through a printer." Does this imply perforations 
of less than extremely high quality in other pro- 
ducts? Hmm . . . Anyway, 5295 will be available 
by the second half of 1985; curiously, there are 
no plans to discontinue 5247 or 5294. 

Any filmmaker, especially in 16mm, who's 
had to cede a loss in quality to the process of 
burning in white titles over a color negative 
background (a loss unthinkable in video) can 
take heart at Kodak's T-grain improvements to 
intermediate master positive and dupe negative 
filmstocks 7243/5243. Again, the new emulsion is 
claimed to be sharper, finer-grained, and faster, 
especially in blue sensitivity. Optical printers 
are often "blue-starved," and sometimes optical 
houses underexpose the blue layer of 7243/ 
5243 in order to run their printers at a higher, 
more economical speed. The result is a charac- 
teristically grainy and washed out image. The 
7243/5243 should discourage this practice while 
at the same time providing improved master 
positives for direct transfer to tape and improved 



master blow-ups from super 16. 

Every film aspires to faithfully reproduce the 
image formed by the lens, and the news from 
SMPTE '85 is that, for 16mm cinematography, 
the Cooke 9-50mm zoom and its super 16 cous- 
in, the 10.4-52mm, still reign supreme. An- 
genieux's vaunted 10- 120mm T2.0, advertised 
for over a year and seen at SMPTE '84 as well as 
'85, exists in the showroom but is still not a re- 
ality on these shores. Like the Cooke, it features 
a non-rotating front element that permits the at- 
tachment of a matte box and the use of graduat- 
ed neutral density filters. It is bulkier and heavier 
than what will be its natural competition, the re- 
cent Zeiss 10-lOOmm T2.0. Ironically, it will also 
have to compete with the recently multi-coated, 
optically improved Angenieux 12- 120mm — a 
20-year-old design that is still going strong. The 
Japanese optics industry, which has wrested still 
camera and video optics from the German and 
French manufacturers, but never fared well in 
the more specialized market of motion picture 
optics, was represented at SMPTE '85 by Can- 
on, which introduced a new 7-56mm, T2. 1 zoom 
for 16mm cinematography. It also features an in- 
ner focusing system so that the front element 
doesn't rotate and focuses down to two feet. 
Compared to the classic Angenieux 12- 120mm at 
1.9 lbs. and the Cooke 9-50mm at 2.2 lbs., the 
Canon 7-56mm at 2.9 lbs. is hefty (comparable 
in weight to the Angenieux 10- 120mm). But 
7mm is an angle-of-view of 72.5 degrees — very 
wide even for a prime lens — and if this lens truly 
performs (to my knowledge, there's only one in 
the field), it could give the Cooke 9-50mm with 
its smaller zoom range a run for its money. 

Several low-cost but clever devices to either 
move the camera/lens through space, or, con- 
versely, subdue camera/lens movement were 
seen at SMPTE '85. At a time when old-fash- 
ioned manned studio cranes are increasingly 
replaced by boomed cameras on remote step- 
motored pan-and-tilt heads, e.g., Matthew's 
Cam-Remote and Cinema Products Mini-Mote, 
resourceful would-be Garrett Browns are 
dreaming up non-motorized alternatives. The 
inspiration for CAM-RAIL, for instance, has to 
be a Lionel toy train set. CAM-RAIL is a system 
of curved and straight track pieces that can be 
fitted to create any length or shape of monorail 
track. The camera rides on a trolley carriage 
either atop or below the track. The length of rail- 
ing is supported at adjustable heights by a series 
of light-weight tripods. The system could ob- 
viate a dolly in many shots: it's less bulky, the 
track is easier to assemble than dolly track, the 
tracking is exactly repeatable, and it permits such 
possibilities as seeming to dolly across a churning 

MAY 1986 



stream. (Conceivably, the camera carriage could 
be motorized and motion-controlled, but this 
hasn't been done yet.) Matthews, perhaps steal- 
ing a cue from Ross Lowell, demonstrated the 
lightweight "briefcase" dolly. Casters, track 
wheels, a push bar, and an adjustable pull handle 
all pack up into a 6" x 19- J/2 " x 29" case that 
unfolds into a western-type dolly platform. The 
whole thing weighs 60 lbs. and is quite portable. 
Not surprisingly, dolly track — either the conven- 
tional steel type or the special lightweight plastic 
Focustrack made by Matthews — has to be 
packaged separately. Incidentally, with the 
casters in place, the unit doubles as an equipment 
dolly. 

Not to be outdone in resourcefulness, CAWA 
Systems unveiled the Handycam — not to be con- 
fused with the diminutive Sony product of simi- 
lar name. What CAWA calls a body support sys- 
tem employs the human prototype of the Steadi- 
cam: The victim holds out his/her arm and firm- 
ly grasps a two-foot vertical pole, on top of 
which is perched a camera. Attached to the bot- 
tom of the pole is a vertical cross-member that 
contains batteries for the camera and acts as a 
counter-balance. The whole affair sans camera 
weighs about eight pounds and resembles an in- 
verted T. The idea is hardly novel (a N.Y.C. 
cameraperson used a home-made version with 
his Aaton years ago), but the principle is valid, 
and this is the first appearance of a manufac- 
tured version. Obviously, its application is 
limited to low-budget shoots where a Steadicam 
is out of the question and the requisite biceps are 
available. Another new, if low-tech camera- 
steadying device at SMPTE '85 was the Porta- 
mount, introduced by Zellan Optics. Its inspira- 
tion was surely the type of shock absorber seen 
under the jacked-up rear ends of '57 Chevys. 
About two feet tall, Portamount braces the 
camera against the vertical vibrations and shocks 
of any shaky surface, permitting the camera's 
own inertia to neutralize movement. Its rubber 
anti-skid foot makes any attachment to the sur- 
face on which it rests unnecessary. Some adjust- 
ment is available depending on the degree of 
vibration, and a horizontal handle facilitates 
panning. Like Handycam, Portamount is not a 
Steadicam, but for many moving-vehicle shots it 
might accomplish Steadicam-like results at a 
fraction of the cost. The trick, as always, is to be 
smart enough to know when it's appropriate, 
and when it's not. 

On the frontier of the film/video interface, 
where video high-tech usefully supplements that 
of film, SMPTE '85 did not provide the long- 
awaited realization of an economically sensible, 
fully systematized film time-code. Indeed, not 
much has changed in the past few years (see 
"The Trouble with Time Code," September 
1983). News of Kodak's magnetically sensitive 
film base for recording time-code, the misnamed 
Datakode (it's not a code; it's a coating) was con- 
fined to reports of further high-end 35mm ex- 



perimentation at a Hollywood studio and some 
post-production applications by the midwestern 
film laboratory, Allied. 

Perhaps the most interesting development in 
film time-code concerned Panavision's recent 
acquisition of a controlling interest in the French 
camera company Aaton. Aaton's Clear Time 
Recording, an eye-readable hour/min/sec 
marking exposed on the edge of the film and in- 
tended for low-budget 16mm documentary ap- 
plications, has evolved since its inception in the 
late seventies into a relatively low-cost version of 
SMPTE time-code called Film Data Track. In 
contrast to CTR's alphanumeric characters, 
FDT appears as a checkerboard pattern exposed 
between 16mm perforations during each film 
pull-down. A row of seven micro-LED's situated 
near the camera gate acts as a sort of optical dot- 
matrix printer recording 91 bits (seven rows x 13 
columns) in a sequence of timed bursts. Sixty- 
four bits are required for SMPTE, leaving 19 as 
user's bits and eight for self-checking. The pat- 
tern itself is somewhat crude in appearance, but 
focus, exposure, and scratching are not critical 
since pattern recognition techniques are used to 
read and process it. This protects it from edge- 
fogging and laboratory wear and tear. FDT is 
also compatible with super 16 as it occupies only 
the perforated edge. 

The Aaton FDT concept should succeed with 
a new infusion of capital, industry-wide interest, 
and Panavision's intention to adapt the system to 
its cameras. All new Aaton XTR cameras sold 
here and abroad are furnished with both CTR 
and FDT circuits, LEDs and fiber optics; 
however, as of this writing, practical applications 
are limited because telecines, flatbeds, and film 
labs have yet to be widely interfaced to working 
FDT readers and support devices. Also, FDT 
needs a 29.97 f.p.s. drop and non-drop time- 
code capability for purposes of direct transfer to 
video. The overpriced, less successful, but more 
sophisticated time-code system developed for 
Arriflex by Coherent Communications does fea- 
ture this, and it's a shame that archrivals Aaton 
and Arriflex can't cease sniping at each other 
long enough to learn a lesson from the unalloyed 
success that industry-wide agreement and 
cooperation has brought to the introduction of 
Type C 1 " video, 8mm video, the compact audio 
disc, the new 19mm digital video cassette. . . 
indeed, the SPMTE/EBU video time-code it- 
self. Will we have to wait yet another five years 
for a truly useful film time-code system? 

Twenty-four f.p.s. has endured as the world- 
wide projection standard since the introduction 
of sound in the late 1920s, but at SMPTE '85, 
high definition television's perceived challenge to 
cinema led to the creation of a formal commit- 
tee, in which I paticipated, to study the possibili- 
ty of a second theatrical projection standard of 
30 f.p.s. Proponents put forward the advantages 
of less flicker, smoother motion, possibly 
brighter screen image and, most importantly, 



frame-rate compatibility with Japan's proposed 
HDTV system. Opponents, many of them Euro- 
pean, countered that 24 f.p.s. as a world stan- 
dard is precious; most countries use a 25, not 30, 
f.p.s. video standard; and film camera shutters 
redesigned to avoid strobing at 30 f.p.s. with 50 
Hz HMI or fluorescent lights would be ineffi- 
cient, requiring a lens opening of an additional 
stop to compensate. 

With an eye towards film's future, this com- 
mittee might prove a fascinating forum for the 
reinvestigation of a range of technical assump- 
tions; indeed, the so-called challenge of HDTV is 
welcome, even if it only scares this complacent 
industry into improving exhibition conditions. 
However, don't figure the 25 percent increase in 
film stock into your budget quite yet. Contrary 
to common belief, SMPTE doesn't generate 
standards; rather, it acts to mediate between 
competing commercial interests, brokering dif- 
fering technologies into a compromise for the 
common good. So adoption and commercial im- 
plementation of a new projection standard 
would take years under the best of cir- 
cumstances. Further, the current climate of in- 
creased box office receipts/falling attendance is 
not favorable to costly innovations that would, 
at best, merely subtly enhance theater-going. 
(Agree? Disagree? Wish to contribute insight or 
opinion to SMPTE's consideration of 30 f.p.s.? 
Contact the author, c/o The Independent.) 

One promising new film/tape technique 
emerged from SMPTE '85. The Steadi-Film 
Corp. unveiled a microprocessor-controlled pin- 
registered 35mm gate that transforms the Rank 
Cintel telecine into a step optical printer. Replac- 
ing the Rank's continuous gate, this (essentially 
Bell & Howell 2709) intermittent movement 
solves the problem of image weave, the soft 
horizontal rocking of the image that renders film 
troublesome as a background for rock-steady 
electronic titles and keyed composite elements. 
The Rank as a precisely-registered video source 
opens up new worlds: frame-by-frame video 
mattes generated by paintbox rotoscoping, the 
use of genuine film mattes, etc. The new video 
technology essential to this innovation is the 
Sony BVH-2500 and Ampex VPR-III, 1 " re- 
corders designed to record one video field at a 
time for video animation. With the Steadi-FIlm 
System, each time the Rank advances a frame 
the VTR advances a frame (30 f.p.s. film) — at a 
clip of just under two feet/min. A caution to 
perfectionists: At present hourly rates for 
telecine time, transferring your feature at this 
snail's pace would surely consume a lion's share 
of your budget. 

David W. Leitner is a film/video consultant and 
cinematographer based in New York City. 



MAY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



LEGAL BRIEFS 



Editor's note: As reported in Lucinda 
Furlong's article "Talking Union: The Screen 
Actors Guild and Independent Films," in the 
March 1986 issue of The Independent, SAG 
and the Association of Independent Video and 
Filmmakers undertook discussions to standard- 
ize the payment of performers in independent 
productions with very low budgets. The "In- 
dependent Producers' Limited Exhibition Let- 
ter of Agreement" recently approved by SAG 
after negotiations with AI VF, intended to cover 
so-called "low low budget" films and video 
tapes, is reprinted here for informational pur- 
poses. 

According to Gene Aleinikoff , an entertain- 
ment lawyer who worked with the AIVF com- 
mittee in negotiations with SAG, and Lawrence 
Sapadin, AIVF's executive director, producers 
working under this new agreement will have to 
follow certain procedures. Before beginning 
production, producers must: 1. sign a copy of 
the special Limited Exhibition Letter (after fill- 
ing in the tentative title, length, and medium), 
plus the standard SAG Basic Agreement and 
Security Agreement; 2. submit the proposed 
shooting script and production budget to SAG; 
and 3. post a security deposit or arrange for 
another payment guarantee acceptable to 
SAG. Within four weeks after completion of 
principal photography, SAG must be given a 
production accounting up to then. After final 
production completion, SAG should also 
receive copies of all SAG-performer contracts 
and time-sheets. 

The permitted film uses and prescribed SAG 
payments are described in paragraphs 4 and 6, 
and despite AIVF's urgent request, do not 
allow for automatic upgrading of rights to 
those given under SAG Low Budget or Basic 
Agreement, nor payment of half-day fees to 
SAG talent more than once. At the time of sign- 
ing the SAG documents, however, producers 
can seek SAG pre-approval to extend film 
rights to those permitted under the SAG Low 
Budget or Basic Agreement by paying the dif- 
ference between performer rates in the new 
agreement and the higher rates of the Low or 
Basic Agreement. The producer may also seek 
SAG pre-consent to more than one half-day pay- 
ment per performer. In either case, performer 
contracts should contain similar provisions, sub- 
ject to SAG approval. 



lotion Picture 
or 

Videotape 

of approximately 



running time entitled 



□ 



RE: 



Title of Picture 



Dear , 

You have informed Screen Actors Guild, Inc. 

(hereinafter "the Guild") that 

(hereinafter "Producer") intends to produce a 
(check one) 

lO THE INDEPENDENT 



(hereinafter "The Picture"). You have further 
advised us that the Picture has a budget of ap- 
proximately $ and that the intended 

exhibition of the Picture is limited to the areas 
described in Paragraph 4 below. Based upon 
these representations and in reliance thereon, the 
Guild offers Producer the following special 
terms and conditions for the employment of 
professional actors. 

1. Pictures Covered. This Agreement ap- 
plies solely to independently conceived and pro- 
duced pictures. It is not intended for pictures 
commissioned for national theatrical exhibition, 
television broadcast (except as specified below) 
or cable use (except as specified below). Music 
videos are specifically excluded from this Agree- 
ment. 

2. Budget . The budget for the Picture shall 
not exceed the following amounts: 

Up to 30 minutes under $50,000 

running time 
30 minutes to 59 minutes under $ 1 00,000 

running time 
60 minutes to 89 minutes under $150,000 

running time 
90 minutes or more under $200,000 

running time 

The budget figures include any cash payment re- 
quired during production but exclude deferrals 
and participations. Producer shall submit a fully 
detailed production budget and shooting script 
to the Guild at least two weeks prior to com- 
mencement of principal photography in order to 
permit verification. Within four weeks of com- 
pletion of principal photography, Producer shall 
submit to the Guild a detailed report of actual ex- 
penditures and other relevant materials the 
Guild may require showing actual cost of pro- 
duction to date. In the event the actual produc- 
tion costs exceed the limits stated above, Pro- 
ducer shall pay to the professional actors or to 
the Guild for the benefit of the professional ac- 
tors, any additional sums necessary to bring the 
compensation of the professional actors into full 
and complete compliance with minimum rates, 
terms and conditions specified in the then- 
current Screen Actors Guild Letter Agreement 
for Low Budget Theatrical Motion Pictures; 
provided, however, that if the actual costs of 
production exceed the budget limit for such 
agreement, the minimum rates, terms and condi- 
tions specified in the then-current Producer- 
Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement 
(Basic Agreement) shall apply. Pension and 
Health Fund contributions shall also be paid on 
any such additional amounts. 



3. Acceptance as a Signatory Producer. 
Concurrently with the signing of this Agreement 
and as a condition thereto, Producer shall sign 
the current Basic Agreement, all the terms of 
which shall apply as described above except as 
hereby modified. Producer shall be considered a 
signatory for the production of this project only. 

4. Exhibition Limitations . Producer shall 
have the right to exhibit the Picture only as 
follows: 

A. Non-theatrical exhibition for non- 
paying audiences, semi-theatrical exhibi- 
tion before film societies and limited run ex- 
hibition in showcase theatres. 

B. "Educational" and "Public Broadcast" 
exhibition in so-called "experimental," "in- 
dependent producer" or similar format ex- 
cluding any regular dramatic series format. 

C. Basic Cable transmission on non- 
commercial and non-pay channels in so- 
called "experimental", or "independent 
producer" or similar format excluding any 
regular dramatic series format. 

D. Home Video Self-Distribution — This 
area is a recent development to which the 
Guild does not presently object. However, 
the Guild reserves the right to change this 
position upon reasonable notice. 

No exhibition other than as described in Sec- 
tions A, B and C above is permitted. If Producer 
wishes to seek alteration of this restriction, prior 
renegotiation, first with the Guild and then with 
all professional actors, is required before any 
such exhibition. 

5. Performers Covered. The terms of this 
Agreement apply only to professional actors 
employed as principal players (not extra 
players), singers, stunt persons, puppeteers, 
airplane and helicopter pilots, narrators and an- 
nouncers and not to non-professionals emp- 
loyed for training or experience. Accordingly, 
Producer shall not be required to give preference 
of employment to professional actors in casting 
roles for this picture, nor shall the Union Securi- 
ty provision of the Basic Agreement be ap- 
plicable to the employment of non-professionals 
or qualify a non-professional for membership in 
the Guild. 

6. Minimum Payments to Covered Per- 
formers. The rates for professional actors em- 
ployed under this contract shall be determined 
by the number of days guaranteed to the profes- 
sional actor at the time of engagement. 



DAYS 




GUARANTEED 


RATE 


Vi 


$ 50 


1 


$100 


2 


$200 




MAY 1986 



3 
or more 



$225 

plus $75 

for each day 

beyond 3 



Any professional actor may agree to be called for 
less than four consecutive hours of rehearsal, 
filming, or both on one day for $50. However, 
this half-day rate cannot be used in such a way as 
to reduce the professional actor's guarantee. On- 
ly one half-day payment can be agreed to by any 
professional actor. Further, if a half-day engage- 
ment extends beyond 4 hours, the professional 
actor involved must be paid for the single-day 
rate and cannot accept another call for the half- 
day rate. 

7. Consecutive Employment Not Required. 
Producer shall not be required to pay profes- 
sional actors for any days intervening between 
days on which professional actor is booked: 
however, scheduling shall be subject to the 
availability of each professional actor. No pro- 
fessional actor shall be required to "hold" any 
day available unless the professional actor is paid 
for such a day. 

8. Length of Work Day, Overtime, Meal 
Breaks . The work day for professional ac- 
tors shall be eight consecutive hours, exclusive of 
time for meal breaks. Such breaks shall be called 
within 6 hours from the time of reporting for 
work and within 6 hours thereafter. Such breaks 
must be at least 30 minutes long but not more 
than one hour long and the professional actor 



shall not be requested to or required to work dur- 
ing such breaks. If the professional actor is re- 
quested to or required to work beyond eight con- 
secutive hours, Producer shall pay the profes- 
sional actor for each such hour, or fraction 
thereof, in the amount of 1/8 of the professional 
actor's pro rata payment for the day. No work 
shall be permitted in excess of 12 hours within 
any 24-hour period. 

9. Pension and Health Contributions. Pro- 
ducer shall make a contribution to the Producer- 
SAG Pension and Health Plans in an amount 
equal to 1 1 % of the total compensation earned 
by all professional actors covered by this Agree- 
ment. Such contribution shall be paid in weekly 
installments accompanied by the appropriate 
P&H Report Form and filed with the SAG of- 
fice. 

10. Record Keeping . Producer shall maintain 
accurate time sheets and employment contracts 
for all professional actors covered by this Agree- 
ment. Copies of all such records must be submit- 
ted to the Guild upon completion of filming. 

1 1 . Financial Security. Producer shall post 
with the Guild a security deposit for the protec- 
tion of professional actors composed of cash or a 
letter of credit in an amount acceptable to the 
Guild. Such deposit shall be posted prior to the 
commencement of rehearsals, if any, or of pho- 
tography. The Guild may in its discretion accept 
a written guarantee from a substantial security 



entity in lieu of a security deposit. 

12. Clips Available to Professional Actors. 
Producer shall make clips of any professional ac- 
tors working in the Picture available to such pro- 
fessional actor at cost once principal photog- 
raphy is completed. Such clips shall be available 
in 16mm, 35mm, VHS or BETA, provided the 
professional actor bears the cost for any required 
conversion from one medium to another. 

13. Withholding taxes, Social Security, 
Unemployment and Disability Insurance. 
All compensation paid to professional actors 
under the terms of this Agreement shall con- 
stitute wages and is subject to deductions for in- 
come taxes, Social Security, and disability in- 
surance. Producer shall make the necessary 
payments, reports and withholding deductions 
with respect to such taxes and premium. Pro- 
ducer shall provide Unemployment Insurance 
coverage for professional actors by making ap- 
propriate registration and payments to the State. 

14. Security Interest in Picture . Producer 
shall execute, concurrently herewith, a Security 
Agreement in the form hereto attached, to pro- 
tect professional actors and the Guild against 
any default in the performance or obligations 
under this Agreement. 

15. Waiver of Weekend, Holiday and Night 
Premiums . Producer may engage professional 

Continued on page 31 



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Pro model available 
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SFAV, INC is the 

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From the 

Super 8 Specialists 



The Independent Producers Guide to Super 8. 

A comprehensive look at the state-of-the-art in Super 8. 



Super 8 Sound 
95 Harvey Street 
Cambridge, MA 02140 
(617)876-5876 



pp $5.00 



MAY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 11 



David Schwartz 



The filmmakers of tomorrow will express themselves 
in the first person, and will relate what has happened 
to them . . . and it will be enjoyable because it will be 
true and new . . . the film of tomorrow will be an act 
of love. 

— Francois Truffaut 
The Films in My Life 



I haven't written a nonfiction piece in the first 
person since elementary school, where I learned 
to use "we" and "one" if I wanted to express an 
opinion. The voice of authority, of truth, was 
impersonal. As I grew up, writing for news- 
papers in school and in the "real" world, I learned 
to apply the tenets of objective journalism and 
ignore any impulse to write "I." These were the 
rules of the game. 

A couple of years ago while struggling with 
editing a short film about a bizarre suicide pact 
between two lovers I knew that I'd have to nar- 
rate the story myself. I couldn't approach this in- 
comprehensible event using the style of TV 
news, with the voice of an instant expert. After 
all, I was still in the process of trying to under- 
stand the act. Also, making my own story part of 
the film would help create a narrative structure, 
much the way events of a picaresque novel are 
often held together by the main character's nar- 
ration. The search could become the structure 
for the story and, in a way, become the story 
itself. I looked for models of first person nonfic- 
tion style and became fascinated with newspaper 
columnists such as Jimmy Breslin, Mike Royko, 
and Bob Greene. Here was one place where jour- 
nalists were allowed to use the word "I." There 
were, however, more examples of the first person 
style in film. 

Jean-Pierre Gorin's Poto and Cabengo was 
one of my inspirations. The story of a pair of 
twin girls who were thought to have developed 
their own private language was transformed by 
Gorin into a personal essay. This 1979 film was 
about the girls, but also about language and 
communication, and Gorin's own sense of ex- 
ile — a French filmmaker adrift in Southern 
California. In this and other first person films, I 
found a fascinating tension between autobiog- 
raphy and journalism. These were not diary 
films, because they did not make the 
filmmaker's life the subject. But they did not try 
to hide the presence of the filmmaker either. The 
filmmakers found new ways to deal with a fun- 
damental concern of documentary: how to rec- 
oncile reality with perception, how to situate 
oneself, as observer and participant, in the 
world. 

What follows is hardly a complete survey of 
works which could be called first person non- 
fiction. Here, I am limiting the term to films 
where there is a narration provided by the film- 

12 THE INDEPENDENT 




FIRST PERSC 

AUTOBIOGF 



maker. Otherwise, I might incorporate for ex- 
ample, Shirley Clarke's Ornette . . . Made in 
America, an extremely idiosyncratic and per- 
sonal portrait of the jazz innovator Ornette Cole- 
man. Also, I have limited my topic to film, 
neglecting the entire field of video, which in- 
cludes much intimate, personal documentary 
work. 

One reason for talking mainly about films 
narrated by their makers is that these works 
overtly cast the filmmaker as a character as well 
as a creator. Poto and Cabengo begins with a 
juxtaposition of a variety of languages. The first 
images are of Katzenjammer Kids cartoons, with 
a narrator reciting the Kids' nonsensical blend of 
German and English. We then hear the unintelli- 
gible voices of the two young girls conversing. A 
title rolls across the screen asking, "What are 
they saying?" Next is an expository montage of 
newspaper headlines and the newscaster-style 
voice of a woman who describes the media's in- 
terest in the San Diego twins, romanticized as 
another "Wild Child" story. Then we are in- 



troduced to the filmmaker. Over still photos of 
himself (including one, fittingly, seated at a 
typewriter), Gorin explains his interest in the 
twins. Speaking with a fairly heavy French ac- 
cent, he states, "These two girls were foreigners 
in their own language." He wanted to film them 
before they began to speak like everyone else: "I 
would have to beat the clock, before they be- 
came English majors." The next shot from his 
car, racing down the freeway towards their 
home, gets the story rolling. 

Gorin explores the environment around the 
girls, particularly their bizarre family. Christine, 
the mother, was born in Germany, and Paula, 
the maternal grandmother who lives in the 
house, speaks only German. Tom, the father, 
was born in the South. The entire family con- 
verses in a Katzenjammer-like hodgepodge. As a 
linguist says in the film, the girls "had two dif- 
ferent linguistic models, both of them defec- 
tive." Unlike traditional narrations, which at- 
tempt to provide answers, Gorin fills the sound- 
track with questions that encourage involvement 

MAY 1986 




(Left) In "Poto and 
Cabengo," film- 
maker Jean-Pierre 
Gorin became in- 
volved In the story of 
the private language 
of a pair of San 
Diego twins. (Right) 
Did Ross McElwee's 
own personality 
become subsumed 
in the life of his sub- 
ject, General Sher- 
man? Will he find a 
new girlfriend in an 
era of nuclear weap- 
ons proliferation? 



M SINGULAR 

^PHYINFILM 



in the process of trying to make sense out of the 
story. At times, he freezes an image during an in- 
terview or repeats a shot. When Christine de- 
scribes her daughters as "two ding-a-lings who 
are pretty much alive," Gorin repeats this seg- 
ment for emphasis. With such devices and the 
use of titles and black leader, the film frequently 
interrupts the flow of the investigation. 

Gorin also describes his own interest in the 
case. "There was a ring of Ellis Island to the 
story," an important notion to a French film- 
maker working and living in San Diego. And he 
finds it difficult to maintain an impersonal 
distance. As he goes towards the family's house 
for the first time, he wonders aloud, "How 
would the girls react to my French accent?" He 
takes the girls to the zoo, a picnic at the beach, 
and a library, before realizing, "There was no way 
I could escape it. The story wasn't with me but 
back with the family." But Gorin and his voice 
remain integral to the story. In a film that sug- 
gests that all language is, by virtue of being an ex- 
ternal, unnatural system, foreign to the speaker, 

MAY 1986 



it is fitting that there is no central authoritative 
language, no objective narration. 

Ross McElwee opens his new film, Sherman's 
March, with a traditional narration, only to dis- 
pense with it. The movie begins like an educa- 
tional film with a narrator describing General 
Sherman's Civil War campaign, as a dotted line 
traces the route on a map. But any resemblance 
to standard documentary ends here. The com- 
plete title, Sherman's March to the Sea: A 
Documentary Meditation Upon the Possibility 
of Romantic Love in the South During an Era of 
Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, indicates the 
movie's blend of history, life in today's South, 
and McElwee's search for a new girlfriend. 

In a prologue, McElwee explains that he orig- 
inally intended to explore the lingering effects of 
Sherman's Civil War victory. Though William 
Sherman, born in Ohio, reportedly loved the 
South and its people, he devastated the Con- 
federacy in a series of brilliant and ruthless 
military campaigns. (Remember, it was Sherman 
who said, "War is hell.") After his troops burn- 



ed Atlanta in November 1864, he led 60,000 men 
on the famous march, leaving a trail of destruc- 
tion across several states. But just before Mc- 
Elwee began filming, his girlfriend announced 
that their relationship was over. Too distracted 
to stay with his original plans, McElwee decided 
to deal with his personal life in the film, combin- 
ing his inquiry about Sherman with his own 
quest for a new love. 

McElwee's own synopsis of the film describes 
its various levels well: 

It is a non-fiction documentary story in which I shape 
narratively the documentary footage I've gathered 
during a serendipitous journey through the South. 
My film is a story in so far as it adheres to the 
autobiographically narrative line of a return home 
followed by a mutedly comic quest in which, repeat- 
edly, boy meets girl, boy chases girl, boy loses.girl. It 
is documentary in so far as all the people, places and 
situations appearing in the film are all unscripted and 
unplanned. 

McElwee operated the camera and recorded 
sound alone; the women he befriends talk direct- 
ly to him behind the camera. They include Pat, 
an aspiring actress desperately seeking Burt 
Reynolds; Claudia, an interior designer involved 
with a survivalist group; Winnie, a doctoral stu- 
dent who lives alone on an island, and a number 
of others. The portraits of these women are re- 
markably vivid and lively, which keeps the film 
from feeling self-indulgent. Interspersed with 
these encounters are McElwee's monologues 
about his floundering film project, his night- 
mares of nuclear destruction, which increase as 
his love life worsens, and the film's ostensible 
subject, General Sherman. "Sherman was 
plagued by anxiety and insomnia," claims 
McElwee, who attempts to conflate his "creep- 
ing psycho-sexual despair" with Sherman's 
psyche. 

Is this a film about Sherman or McElwee? 
And what is the relation between McElwee's life 
and his film? He conjectures, "It seems like I'm 
filming my life in order to have a life to film. " An 
old friend and mentor, Charleen, advises him on 
camera, "Forget the fucking film and listen to 
me. This is not art. This is life." However, Sher- 
man's March shows that there is no clear-cut 
dividing line. McElwee strikes a fascinating 
balance between being an ironic observer of his 
own pursuits and an active participant. By main- 
taining a sense of irony about his romantic pur- 
suits, McElwee uses his search for a girlfriend in 
the same way that he uses Sherman's March, as a 
kind of red herring, a structural narrative device 
to shape his documentary material. What we 
remember most vividly about Sherman 's March 
are the people and places that the filmmaker en- 
counters. 

A personal view of more recent history is pro- 
vided by Nancy Yasecko's 1984 film Growing Up 
with Rockets. What is the relationship between 
news events and our individual lives? Is history 
just something we watch on TV? These ques- 

THE INDEPENDENT 13 




Nancy Yasecko reflects on missile launches, Cape Canaveral, and growing up with rockets. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



tions were raised earlier this year, when the Chal- 
lenger disaster instantly became part of our na- 
tional consciousness. Millions of people ex- 
perienced a strong personal reaction to the ex- 
plosion. That tragic, but chilling incident re- 
vealed some of the technological complexity of 
the space program. At the same time, space 
travel often functions as fantasy, enjoying a hold 
on the public imagination for many years. Early 
cinema history provides a fine example: Melies's 
A Trip to the Moon, made a half-century before 
the existence of NASA. 

Growing Up with Rockets is a firsthand look 
at NASA that goes a long way towards demysti- 
fying this massive public project. Yasecko grew 
up in Cape Canaveral, where her family ran a 
"Spacerium" tourist attraction; her coming of 
age parallels the growth of the space program. 
With home movies, newsreels, and original 
footage, Yasecko provides a personal history of 
the space agency. While the film doesn't cover 
much new factual ground, it is mildly subversive 
in evoking the scientists and engineers who cre- 
ated the space program as real, imperfect people. 
Listen, for example, to how Yasecko describes 
her return to Cape Canaveral as a grown-up 
several years ago to witness the first launch of the 
space shuttle: 

Mom said there was some concern around town that 
if the first test flights were unsuccessful, the negative 
publicity alone would be enough to set the program 
back a number of years. Dad and some of his friends 
were skeptical about the complicated design that was 
required to launch the shuttle like a rocket and return 
it like an airplane. Mom was amused that the same 
bunch of mavericks that had put wings on the old 
Snark and Matador had gotten so conservative in 
their old age. I remember those old military launches 
and how we all grew up with rockets going off almost 
every day, and the special feeling of a manned 



launch. After that, I had to see this one, and get that 
old countdown and liftoff rush. 

Yasecko's portrait of the space program is less 
than mystical. She charts its ups and downs, cap- 
turing the emotions of the familiar events in 
diary style. She talks about the exuberant early 
days of constant rocket launches, when her 
schoolmates would run outside and yell, 
"Missile! Missile!" whenever a rocket went off, 
to the feeling of despair as the space program 
fizzled in the mid-seventies. Yasecko was work- 
ing for NASA at the time, and she recalls, "I left 
the engineering tract and signed up to study 
art. ... It seemed like a more practical idea at the 
time." 

The union of Yasecko's voice with familiar 
images of news events creates a surprising effect. 
We are used to having NASA explained to us by 
male voices of authority, be they the TV anchors 
who traditionally served as our guides to the 
news, or the deep-voiced narrators of the 
documentaries some of us watched in school. 
Speaking somewhat ironically and intimately, 
Yasecko provides an alternative to these 
nondescript, impersonal voices. 

The voice and perspective of a woman film- 
maker is again strongly asserted in Joel DeMott's 
film Demon Lover Diary. DeMott records the 
making of a low-budget horror film being 
photographed by her partner Jeff Kreines. 
DeMott's "diary" is filled with bizarre incidents 
that are far stranger than the movie that is in pro- 
duction. The filmmakers, Don and Jerry, are 
factory workers fulfilling a lifetime dream. Don 
mortgaged his furniture and car, and Jerry cut 
off his finger in an industrial "accident" to col- 
lect insurance money towards the film's ex- 
penses. DeMott films all this and records sound 
by herself. She talks to people in the scene, even 




Lisa Hsia recounts her own often embai 
her relatives in "Made in China." 

Courtesy filmmaker 

arguing with the filmmakers, who are frequently 
condescending toward her because she is a 
woman. (At one point, they expect her to wait 
home all day for a phone call while they are out 
running errands.) She makes asides meant only 
for the viewer's ears, mainly commenting on 
how the horror film is turning into a complete 
mess. And she films from an extremely close 
range. 

In the past dozen years, DeMott and Kreines 
have developed a distinctive style of one-person 
shooting. They each use a combination camera/ 
tape recorder rig that weighs about 12 pounds. 
They film with a wide angle lens that enables 
them to stand within three or four feet of their 
subjects, and they use extremely sensitive film 
stock, eliminating the need for lights. In a writ- 
ten description of their shooting technique, De- 
Mott explains the philosophy behind this ap- 
proach: 

The filmmaker doesn't carry on with "his people" 
(the crew) in front of "his subjects." The dichotomy 
those labels reveal, in the filmmaker himself [sic] is 
gone, along with the crew. Relieved of the alliance, 
and a need for communication of an alienating sort 
— the filmmaker becomes another human being in 
the room. He participates without awkwardness in 
the society that surrounds him. 

DeMott's technique in Demon Lover Diary 
responds to a problem evident in many cinema 
verite films that do not explicitly acknowledge 
the presence of the filmmaker. A recent exam- 
ple of this is the commercially successful docu- 
mentary Streetwise, a chronicle of the lives of 
street kids in Seattle. Though filmed in a sort of 
Candid Camera style, albeit with more sensitiv- 
ity and elegance than Allen Funt ever dis- 
played, Streetwise never obviates the nagging 
suspicion that the subjects are acting for the 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1986 





Ing efforts to become an "Insider" with 



Chisu Ryu in a scene from Wim Wenders's film diary "Tokyo-Go." 

Courtesy filmmaker 



camera. The film's main characters wore radio 
microphones. While this allowed for intimate 
sound recordings, wearing a radio microphone 
will entail some self-consciousness. To the film- 
makers' credit, most of the moments captured 
in Streetwise seem authentic. But from time to 
time the audience must wonder, "What about 
the film crew?" In contrast, the first person 
filmmaking style of DeMott and Kreines fore- 
grounds their presence, leaving no uncertainty 
about their relationship to the project. 

The question of distance becomes central in 
many first person npnfiction films. To ask what 
is the place of the filmmaker in a film is to hint 
at a broader question: what is the place of a per- 
son in the world? Lisa Hsia makes this explicit 
in her half-hour film Made in China, where she 
explores her hyphenated Chinese American 
heritage. Born and raised in the suburbs of 
Chicago, Hsia filmed a visit with relatives in 
China. Her goal there was to become an insider, 
not a tourist or a mere observer. In fact, this 
desire is the source of much of the film's humor. 
Using an informal, anecdotal narration, and 
mix of home movies, animation, and original 
footage, Hsia recounts her experiences, in- 
cluding a variety of embarrassing moments that 
demonstrate the difficulty of making a connec- 
tion with one's cultural roots. 

Wim Wenders, on the other hand, plays an out- 
sider in many of his films. The New York City of 
his Reverse Angle doesn't seem very different 
from the Tokyo of his Tokyo-Ga. In both films, 
the city is presented as a depersonalized place, 
cluttered with meaningless images. However, 
whether in Germany, the United States, or Ja- 
pan, Wenders has been inspired by the films of 
Yasujiro Ozu, whose austere, ordered composi- 
tions depict a tranquil center of family and per- 
sonal relationships in the midst of a moderniz- 



ing world. Wenders also has adapted from Ozu 
his episodic, laconic storytelling style, where 
minor, quotidian incidents make up the films' 
slender plots. Wenders manages to find the com- 
mon ground of Ozu's films and his favorite 
genre, the road movie. This type of narrative 
structure approaches the diaristic, and Tokyo- 
Ga is Wenders's filmed account of his trip to 
modern-day Tokyo to find what remains of the 
austere, orderly world portrayed in Ozu's films. 

Tokyo-Ga can be seen as two films in one: his 
vision of Tokyo and a tribute to Ozu, employing 
interviews, film clips from Tokyo Story, and 
Wenders's narration about Ozu's movies. What 
connects these two elements, and what shapes 
the entire film, is Wenders's personal experience. 
As he wanders through a crowded, hectic To- 
kyo, complete with noisy pachinko parlors, ubi- 
quitous TV sets (even in the backseats of tax- 
icabs), a rooftop golf range, and a park where 
Japanese teens dance to American rock and roll, 
Wenders laments, "I was searching for the 
mythical city of Tokyo. Perhaps that was what 
no longer existed, [Ozu's] view that one could 
find order in a world of disorder. Perhaps such a 
view is no longer possible." Yet Wenders does 
not despair totally. He adds, "In spite of every- 
thing, I couldn't help but be impressed by 
Tokyo." 

In many of the practices that Wenders ob- 
serves, there is an obsession with pure form that 
becomes almost meditative. In the pachinko 
parlors, the hours in front of the machine "in- 
duce a hypnosis, a strange form of happiness. 
The person merges with the machine, and for- 
gets whatever it is that one wants to forget." Ear- 
ly in the film, at a train station, Wenders spots a 
young boy who is being dragged along by his 
mother; the stubborn child keeps sitting on the 
floor, refusing to budge. Wenders compares the 



mischievous child to the kids in Ozu's films from 
the 1930s, and he is heartened to see a sign of 
continuity between Ozu's world and modern 
Tokyo. "No other city has ever felt so familiar to 
me," he comments. But after all, he views Tokyo 
through his own memories, thoughts, and de- 
sires, searching for a city that really exists only in 
his imagination. 

In the past, the realm of the personal has be- 
longed primarily to avant-garde filmmakers, and 
as a subtext, to fiction filmmakers. These first 
person documentaries, though, assert subjectivi- 
ty, which has long been a dirty word in documen- 
taries, and attempt to reconcile the social with 
the deeply personal. I think of my favorite 
photographs of people looking straight at the 
camera, breaking down the boundary between 
photographer and subject, implying a connec- 
tion. In a similar way, the films I have designated 
first person documentaries explore the en- 
counter between filmmaker and subject. They 
make the person behind the camera a subject of 
the film. From McElwee's confessional mono- 
logues in Sherman's March to Gorin's analytic 
narration in Poto and Cabengo, these films sug- 
gest the variety of cinematic forms that can 
situate a person in the work and in the world. 



David Schwartz, program assistant at the 
American Museum of the Moving Image, is also 
a freelance writer. 

© David Schwartz 1986 



MAY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



TALKING UNION 

NABET. IATSE k 



Lucinda Furlong 



Editor's note: This is the second article in a two- 
part series on independent media and entertain- 
ment unions. The first part, "Talking Union: 
The Screen Actors Guild and Independent 
Films," appeared in the March 1986 issue of The 
Independent. 



□ 



Why is it that independent producers whose world 
view includes support of organized labor, don't 
always pay union wages? On the surface, this 
seems a naive question, for most independents 
agree that union wages and work rules are imprac- 
tical for their low-budget productions. Whatever 
pro-union sympathy they may have quickly fades 
when they attempt to negotiate. Their frustration 
is heightened, said one producer of labor 
documentaries, by the belief that "the unions 
have been well-served by independent film- 
makers. We're nice to them, so they should be 
nice to us. " But it is precisely this attitude that has 
caused some union leaders who have been lenient 
with producers of social issue films and tapes to 
say that producers take union largesse for 
granted. 

Certainly social documentaries constitute only 
a portion of independent production. But they 
also represent a possible convergence — in theory, 
at least — of the interests of independents and 
unions. This article concentrates on labor rela- 
tions in the production of labor documentaries, 
although much of what's described applies to 
other films as well. But there are some important 
differences between feature and documentary 
film production that make traditional union work 
rules particularly problematic for documentary 
producers. Often the subject matter requires that 
a documentary be shot over a long period of time, 
during odd hours, resulting in unusual work sche- 
dules and, thus, costly overtime. This is less a 
problem for filmmakers who do the shooting and 
editing themselves. Robert Machover, for exam- 
ple, shot The Great Weirton Steal, a film about 
the sale of a failing steel mill to the workers, over 
two and a half years. Machover, who also edited 
the film, traveled to Weirton, West Virginia, with 
a sound person for six-week stints. "How do you 
deal with a crew in that kind of period? You 
can't." 

16 THE INDEPENDENT 



For Christine Choy, producer of Mississippi 
Triangle, a film on the uneasy co-existence of 
blacks, Chinese, and poor whites in the Missis- 
sippi Delta, shooting during normal working 
was impossible. "Chinese people work late at 
night or early in the morning, so you have to shoot 
then." A union cameraperson and sound record- 
ist worked on the project, but Choy, who says she 
simply can't afford union rates, paid less than 
scale. 

Beyond the issue of union solidarity — which 
should not be lightly dismissed — why should inde- 
pendents, who rarely make any money for their 
efforts, work under union contracts? One reason 
is that union crews bring experience and expertise 
to a production. Another important factor is that 
a film targeted to labor audiences must have the 
union "bug" to ensure distribution through union 
channels. Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Bird were 
unable to get a union seal for The Wobblies even 
though they had a contract with Local 15 of the 
National Association of Broadcast Employees 
and Technicians, a union that has been involved in 
many independent productions. The snag devel- 
oped because a cameraperson who had worked 
on the film in its early stages belonged to a rival 
union, the International Alliance of Theatrical 
and Stage Employees. According to Shaffer, they 
found themselves caught in a jurisdictional battle 



between two unions resulting from the presence of 
both NABET and IATSE crew members. 

Other filmmakers who have sought union 
contracts have had far more positive ex- 
periences, such as Tami Gold and Lyn Goldfarb, 
coproducers of From Bedside to Bargaining 
Table, a film about labor organizing by nurses 
that got a NABET seal. And Lorraine Gray, 
who, with Ann Bohlen and Goldfarb, produced 
With Babies and Banners, which was released in 
1978 with the union bug, characterized Local 15 
as "extremely supportive." "Here we were with 
a grant-funded film, and we literally did not have 
the money to pay the base hourly wage." And 
yet, as Goldfarb explained, "we felt that, in pro- 
ducing a documentary on women in labor, it 
would be a contradiction" if it weren't a union 
film with a predominantly female crew. 

Gray approached Local 15 business manager 
Tom Turley and business agent Richard Miller 
before production began, and, after receiving 
approval from the local's executive board, 
NABET members worked for free, except for 
pension and welfare payments. Gray eventually 
raised enough money to retroactively pay the 
crew union scale. According to Miller, ap- 
proaching the union first was crucial to Gray's 
success. He said that NABET naturally wants 
social issue films to have the union seal, but the 




Producers Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer were not able to get a NABET seal for "The Wob- 
blies" due to intra-union rivalry. 

Courtesy filmmakers 

MAY 1986 



ND INDEPENDENT MEDIA 



^INMfe 



lair Hands iSpi 

\ 

. \'\. " s:s '"" x " 

•■'... m -,.... . , 



Robert Machover's budget limitations and protracted production schedule for "The Great 
Weirton Steal" would have made working with a union crew Impossible. 

Courtesy filmmaker 



union is getting impatient with filmmakers who 
approach them after the fact. 

Bitter Cane is one such film. Collectively pro- 
duced by Haiti Films in 1983, Bitter Cane 
analyzes the relocation of U.S. textile companies 
to Haiti. The film was given a NABET seal par- 
tially because one of its producers, Kyle Kibbe, is 
a NABET member, and also because of its con- 
tent. But Miller called Bitter Cane an exception. 
"If you want to make a progressive film and get a 
union seal, at least have the decency to talk to the 
union before you do the film." 

Many independent producers who have nego- 
tiated with NABET have attributed Local 15's 
cooperative stance to Turley and Miller. Tin-ley's 
departure last year caused some speculation 
among producers that the union had become less 
willing to deal liberally with independents. This 
impression was reinforced last spring at a Foun- 
dation for Independent Video and Film seminar 
on unions and independent producers. Speaking 
for Local 15, interim business manager Raphael 
PiRoman noted that members had "gotten more 
rigorous in [their] demands" and thus had voted 
against the development of a low-budget con- 
tract comparable to those created by the Screen 
Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of 
America. But an evaluation of Local 15 as inflex- 
ible is simplistic and should be measured against 
the union's history. 

MAY 1986 



Jane Wasko traces that history in her essay 
"Trade Unions and Broadcasting: A Case Study 
of the National Association of Broadcast 
Employees and Technicians.'" As Wasko ex- 
plains, Local 15's parent union was formed in 
1933 by 300 engineers at the NBC Radio Net- 
work who sought "relief from split shifts, low 
wages, and the lack of overtime or holiday pay. " 
She points out that some union leaders thought 
that the Association of Technical Employees, as 
the group was originally named, was formed as a 
"company union" to ward off the organization 
efforts of the International Brotherhood of Elec- 
trical Workers.. Others attributed the group's 
formation to an attempt to repeat the IBEW's 
success at CBS. In any case, NABET gained 
another network affiliation in 1941, when NBC 
was forced by the FCC to split its Red and Blue 
Networks into separate companies, creating 
ABC. 

NABET's sole competition in radio was the 
IBEW. However, with the development of tele- 
vision, another union stepped in, the Interna- 
tional Alliance of Theatrical and Stage 
Employees, which was and still is the largest 
Hollywood union. Formed in 1893 to redress 
poor working conditions among vaudeville and 
theater workers, it organized motion picture 
projectionists in 1908 and expanded rapidly in 
the early days of Hollywood's growth. Even 



though the IA, as it is commonly called, was 
powerful and firmly established, its competition 
with NABET (and the IBEW) has always been 
fierce — marked by numerous representational 
and jurisdictional disputes. According to 
Wasko, these battles largely subsided by the late 
1960s, "and a cold war atmosphere evolved be- 
tween these various unions over issues of strike 
support and overall union strength." 

For its part, the IA has had a rather sordid 
past. In his study, "Towards a Worker's History 
of the U.S. Film Industry," Michael Nielson 
documents some of the IA's tactics, ranging 
from extortion and violence during the notori- 
ous Browne-Bioff era of the 1930s to red-baiting 
in the McCarthy years. 2 And John Cogley's 
Blacklisting in Hollywood discusses the rise of 
IA power broker Roy Brewer, a fervent anti- 
Communist and arbiter for those seeking to re- 
fute charges of Communist affiliation or being 
"fellow travelers." 3 Furthermore, according to 
Nielson, the IA was considered by many of its 
members to be a sweetheart union, that is, its 
members' interests were often shortchanged in 
deals made with Hollywood studios. 4 

For years IA was also known as a "father- 
son" union: membership was denied to almost 
anyone not born into an IA family. Consequent- 
ly, many skilled craftsworkers and technicians 
were excluded from well-paid work. In the early 
1950s, in response to IA's practices, NABET 
formed a film local, the Association of Docu- 
mentary and Television Film Craftsmen. To 
thwart their efforts, the IA opened its doors to 
the members of the newly formed local, and by 
1954 most of these NABET people were absorb- 
ed into the IA. But once the threat of a com- 
peting union vanished, the IA closed ranks 
again. Subsequently, film workers who were 
unable to join the IA approached NABET, and 
in 1965 NABET formed Local 15. Again, the IA 
tried to raid NABET, but this time most mem- 
bers opted to build their own organization. Re- 
ceiving its official charter in 1968, Local 15 grew 
from 600 to its approximately 1 ,600 members to- 
day. 

NABET, like the IA, represents freelance 
camera, sound, and electric workers, grips, 
editors, set-builders, make-up, hair, and ward- 
robe people, and, more recently, video crews. 
Unlike the IA, where the different crafts con- 
stitute numerous locals, all NABET freelancers 
in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C.. 
Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, and San Francisco 
THE INDEPENDENT 17 



are in Local 15. NABET Hollywood freelancers 
are represented by Local 531 in Los Angeles. 

In NABET' s early years, the IA produced vir- 
tually all the major Hollywood films under pre- 
existing contracts, so Local 15 pursued in- 
dependently produced and low-budget films like 
Joe and Easy Rider, as well as commercials 
which have traditionally comprised the bulk of 
their work. In 1978, in a special issue of Back 
Stage commemorating the local's tenth anniver- 
sary, the rank and file was glowingly described as 
"independent as they are motivated . . . average 
age 28... the majority being film school 
graduates . . . dedicated to producing top-notch 
films, commercials, documentaries, and TV 
programs." Recently, NABET crews have work- 
ed on more features, including After Hours, 
Compromising Positions, 9'A Weeks, and 
Death of a Salesman. 

NABET has two collective bargaining agree- 
ments, one for feature films and one for com- 
mercials. Scale for a Director of Photography 
(First Cameraperson) on a feature film is $336 
per day. Editors get $224, while a mixer/recor- 
dist gets $179.20. Rates for a comparable posi- 
tion in commercials are considerably lower; they 
are negotiated with the Association of Indepen- 
dent Commercial Producers, a central bargain- 
ing committee representing a large group of pro- 
duction companies formed in 1972. All non- 
AICP jobs and documentaries are negotiated on 
a case-by-case basis: workers procure non-union 
work, and then the union negotiates with the 
producer. 

Recently, union management has been con- 
cerned that local members are taking the "job- 
first, contract-later" approach too far. In the 
February 1986 issue of the union newsletter In 
Focus, Local 15 president Martin Bernstein 
stated, "It is now clear that a distressingly dif- 
ferent approach is often adopted. . . : 'Let's get 
the job, and who needs a contract anyway?' 
There is something missing from this equa- 
tion— NABET Local 15." 

Clearly, the outlook of the Local 15 member- 
ship has changed during the past 20 years. 
Younger members will still work on low-budget 
projects at lower rates to gain experience, but 
older, veteran members understandably want 
well-paid work on bigger productions. After 
years of working their way to the top, they are no 
longer willing to make the kinds of concessions 
that independents often need, which is why the 
low-budget feature contract was rejected last 
year. 

In fact, the low-budget issue sparked both pro 
and con arguments, and the February 1985 issue 
of In Focus reflected the debate. Noting the 
local's difficulties in barring members' involve- 
ment in low-budget projects, Larry Loewinger, 
chair of Local 15 's Low-Budget Committee, ex- 
plained that a new contract could be limited to 
productions with budgets of $1.5-million and 
under, arguing that its terms could explicitly ex- 



clude more costly productions. Such a low- 
budget contract, he said, "reverses the relation- 
ship between union and non-union workers. It 
places the better-skilled union laborers in a 
stronger position to seek low-budget work. It 
makes the local more attractive to new members 
and producers. It should do what labor agree- 
ments have always done when they are well at- 
tuned to the market place — define the conditions 
by which all must work." 

Speaking for the opposition, Dustin Smith, a 
key grip, said that a low budget contract would 
institutionalize below-scale wages that would 
quickly become the bargaining standard. "With 
the introduction of a low-budget Feature Con- 
tract ... we would now offer the following 
possibilities to a producer: we will work above 
scale; we will work at scale; we will work below 
scale. The dumbest merchant in town would 
have to bunk his eyes at that." 

If the majority of the membership looks for 
work on commercials and big-budget features, 
there are some NABET members who work on 
independent projects because they find them 
worthwhile, and support themselves with com- 
mercials. Also, many local members produce 
their own films and tapes, among them Curtis 
Choy, producer of The Fall of the I-Hotel, and 
Gordon Quinn and Jerry Blumenthal of 
Kartemquin Films. 

Others contribute their skills to politically pro- 
gressive projects. Nigel Nobel, a NABET 15 
mixer/recordist, organized the videotaping of 
the Ribbon Project, last summer's march in 
which 25,000 people surrounded the Pentagon 
with hand-made fabric panels depicting what 
they would "miss most in the event of a nuclear 
war." An hour-long documentary of the event is 
being produced with all volunteer union labor. 
Local 15 business manager, John VanEyck, 
views this activity as comparable to volunteering 
for one's church. 

It's necessary to distinguish between working 
as a volunteer on another NABET member's 
project and working below scale on an in- 
dependent production, however. In Miller's 
words, "If people don't volunteer for a NABET 
film, they must work under contract . " In theory, 
the producer signs a letter of agreement, saying 
he or she will abide by union work rules and 
make pension and welfare payments of $29 for 
each day worked. Employees call in the number 
of days worked to the union, but since Local 15 
operates on an "honor code, " they don't have to 
report how much they actually make. Conse- 
quently, the union has no way of knowing if the 
producer has actually paid scale. Obviously, it is 
in the employee's interest to report lower-than- 
scale wages to the local. But, according to several 
NABET members, union management won't 
make an issue out of a low-budget job if it's 
union or issue-oriented. On the other hand, in- 
dependent features or big-budget documentaries 
are a different story. 



IA members also work on low-budget inde- 
pendent films, but the IA maintains stricter 
rules, requiring members to disclose their day 
rates since the union calculates dues according to 
income. Laura Fieber, business manager for IA 
Local 644, which represents camera operators, 
says the IA is willing to discuss projects on a case- 
by-case basis, and "people shouldn't be afraid to 
call us. " But she refused to discuss what kinds of 
penalties IA members face for working for be- 
low scale, stating only that they "get into trouble 
with the union." 

Local 15 has been more flexible, but both its 
leadership and members agree that the group is 
in a state of flux. VanEyck has been business 
manager for only seven months, and there are a 
number of new business agents . Some of the ma- 
jor issues facing the union were outlined in the 
December 1985 issue of In Focus, including "a 
potentially 'crippling' problem of its members 
undercutting each other on jobs — charging 
lower rates and accepting non-union assistants in 
union positions . . . and ... the need to decide in 
which direction the local should go in order to 
obtain more work — large features, indepen- 
dents, commercials, industrials, video." Both 
issues are relevant to future relations between 
NABET 15 and independents. 

According to VanEyck, the local is currently 
re-evaluating its arrangements with all sectors of 
production. When interviewed recently, both 
VanEyck and Miller seemed genuinely sympa- 
thetic to the problems caused by the limited 
financial resources available to independents. At 
the same time, Miller said he often felt that 
NABET "bails out producers" by giving them a 
union seal, and then "we don't hear from you." 
He proposed that the two groups must formu- 
late a new strategy to enable independents to 
work with union crews, and form a producer- 
union alliance that would jointly lobby for more 
money for independent production. Local 15 
seems" ready to talk, but not without an indica- 
tion that independent producers will take some 
initiative. Instead of regarding union labor as a 
financial burden, independents might realize the 
mutual benefits of collaboration with their 
organized colleagues. 

NOTES 

1. Janet Wasko, in The Critical Communications 
Review, Vol. 1: Labor, the Working Class, and the 
Media, Vincent Mosco and Janet Wasko, ed. (Nor- 
wood, N. J.: Ablex Publishing Corp., 1983), p. 85-113. 

2. Michael Nielson, in Mosco and Wasko, pp. 47-83. 

3. John Cogley, Blacklisting in Hollywood, Vol. 1: 
Movies (New York: Fund for the Republic, 1956). 

4. Nielson, p. 72. 

Lucinda Furlong is a curatorial assistant in the 
Film and Video Department of the Whitney 
Museum of American Art and a former member 
of Local 34 of the Federation of University 
Employees. 

© Lucinda Furlong 1986 



18 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1986 



FESTIVALS 



CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: 

THE ROBERT FLAHERTY FILM SEMINAR 



David Schwartz 



"Festival" is a dirty word at Flaherty. This in- 
tense, ultimately exhilarating week-long event is 
a non-stop seminar closer in spirit to group 
therapy than a traditional film festival. This 
year, August 9-16, filmmakers, programmers, 
teachers, and videomakers participating in the 
32nd annual event will once again gather at Wells 
College, New York, a miniscule town on the 
Finger Lakes, 50 miles north of Ithaca, for an 
event with its own special set of ground rules. 

None of the week's films are announced in ad- 
vance. Participants are expected to attend all of 
the screenings, which run from morning to night 
(plus optional midnight screenings), and share in 
the group discussions. "Isolation, immersion, 
and commonality of experience are the ideas be- 
hind the seminar," said Deac Rossell of the 
Boston Museum of Fine Arts and programmer 
of last year's Flaherty, which I attended. The 
discussions on the aesthetics and the ethics of 
filmmaking (with the emphasis on the latter) are 
the lifeblood of the week, and they continue past 
their formal time slots, into the meal sessions at 
the college cafeteria, down at the lake when there 
is time for a brief swim, and late into the night at 
the impromptu cash bar. 

As Barbara Van Dyke, a trustee of Interna- 
tional Film Seminars, which organizes the event, 
explained, "Flaherty is a process. The seminar 
works through the juxtaposition and ordering of 
films. We show films that sometimes wouldn't 
make it into a festival, but they're chosen be- 
cause they raise interesting filmmaking prob- 
lems." 

Each year IFS chooses a broad theme to guide 
the selection of films. Though documentaries are 
the central concern, fictional and experimental 
works are also considered. Indeed, the theme of 
last year's seminar, as Rossell put it, "was the no- 
man's land between fiction and fact. This runs 
from John Hanson and Sandra Schulberg's 
Wildrose, which placed a fictional story about 
north Minnesota miners against an honest, 
realistic background, to Paul Cowan's Democ- 
racy on Trial, which was based on court records, 
but styled in a way that tried to be extremely vivid 
and engaging, 

Other selected films included Kenneth Har- 
rison's dramatic feature 1918, with a script by 
Horton Foote, Bill Duke's fiction-based-on-fact 
labor film The Killing Floor, and John Davies's 
drama about a BBC documentary crew in Nor- 
thern Ireland, Acceptable Levels. The seminar 

MAY 1986 




"The Amish: Not To Be Modern" stirred discussion at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar when 
a Wells College custodian from the Amish community raised questions of authenticity. 

Photo: Michael Taylor 



also invites a few prominent international film- 
makers as guests, and last year, the Hungarians 
Barna Kabay and Imre Gyongyossy presented 
their acclaimed narrative film The Revolt of Job, 
along with their documentary features A Quite 
Ordinary Life and Let Ye Inherit. 

Films are not limited solely to the chosen 
theme, and subplots develop in the ongoing dis- 
cussion. Several of 1985's films dealt with the 
problem of filmmakers' perspective when film- 
ing cultures different from their own. For exam- 
ple, Victoria Larimore's The Amish: Not to Be 
Modern, a look at an Amish community, was 
heavily and intensely discussed, less for its quali- 
ty than for the issues it raised. The question of 
authenticity in fiction vs. documentary was rais- 
ed in an unexpected way when a Wells College 
custodian, himself from an Amish community, 
suggested the feature Witness offered a more 
realistic portrait of Amish behavior than Lari- 
more's documentary. Her film also raised the 
question of whether filmmakers should ac- 
knowledge their status as outsiders within their 
films. 

In addition to the films chosen around the 
main theme, the Flaherty Seminar also serves as 
a showcase for works dealing with timely social 
and political issues. "The seminar always reflects 
the concerns of the time and is at the forefront of 
documentary filmmaking," said Esme Dick, IFS 
president. Three Central American films were 
shown last year: Deborah Shaffer's Witness to 
War, a portrait of Charlie Clements, a former 



distinguished bomber pilot in Vietnam who is 
now a doctor for civilians in El Salvador, Alfred 
Guzzetti, Richard Rogers, and Susan Meiselas's 
Living at Risk, about an upper-middle class pro- 
Sandinista family in Nicaragua, and Pam Yates 
and Tom Sigel's Guatemalan film When the 
Mountains Tremble. Particularly timely was 
Mira Hamermesh's simple but powerful tape 
Maids and Madams, a chilling look at relations 
between white women and their black maids in 
South Africa that reveals the day-to-day work- 
ings of apartheid. Though the tape was not 
shown because it fit into the context created by 
the other films ("I just wanted you to see this," 
explained Rossell), it did relate well to a previ- 
ously screened tape, David Shulman's video 
documentary Race Against Prime Time, which 
exposed how the media covering the Miami race 
riots exploited the violence and sensationalism 
while ignoring underlying issues. There are no 
riots in Maids and Madams, but the tape is more 
powerful than standard evening news riot scenes, 
because it explores the deep-rooted injustices 
that lead to this violence. 

The films are just one element of Flaherty. 
The identity of each year's event is also determin- 
ed by the sensibility of the programmer and the 
quality of the participants. I was told that last 
year's group discussions were better and more 
coherent than usual, although some people, 
including Rossell, considered them "too polite. 
It's hard to have candid discussions in a large 
group with the filmmaker present, but the infor- 

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20 THE INDEPENDENT 



mal discussions, especially in the bar, were good. 
That's when things really got cooking. " My only 
complaint was that the discussions were too 
much concerned with issues of content and eth- 
ics. Stylistic and structural concerns, so impor- 
tant to filmmaker's practice, were given short 
shrift. 

In terms of the group's composition, Esme 
Dick declared bluntly, "We're hoping that the 
mix will change. The Flaherty has tended to be a 
lily-white middle class event." That hope is 
reflected in 1986's chosen theme, "Diverse 
Cultural Perspectives." The seminar will explore 
works from around the world, including western 
and developing nations. As of press time, an ap- 
plication was still pending with the United States 
Information Agency to finance visits of 10 film- 
makers from other nations. 

This year's programmers are Linda Blackaby, 
director of the Neighborhood Film/Video Pro- 
ject in Philadelphia, and Anthony Gittens, 
director of the Black Film Institute in 
Washington, D.C. Both say the emphasis on 
video will be greater than usual. (The New York 
State Council on the Arts has made available 
$3,000 to defray expenses of New York video ar- 
tists wishing to attend.) Video will be more visi- 
ble partly because, as Blackaby pointed out, 
"There are some developing nations that only 
have video." Gittens said, "We're going to ex- 
plore the contrast between films from develop- 
ing nations and films from the developed world. 
We want to explore what makes a Japanese film 
a Japanese film, an Iranian film Iranian, and so 
on." 

Flaherty's seriousness and its emphasis on 
inter-relationships between films make it an in- 
spirational event. Its goal is not to promote one 
individual film over another, but to place films 
within a community of interests and concerns. 

David Schwartz, writer and filmmaker, screened 
his work Deadhead at last year's Flaherty Film 
Seminar. 

Robert Flaherty Film Seminar will take place 
Aug. 9-16. Contact Linda Blackaby, Neighbor- 
hood Film/Video Project, International House, 
3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 
(215) 387-5125; or Anthony Gittens, 1838 On- 
tario Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009; 
(202) 727-2396. Selection completed by June 1. 
Formats: open. Registration fee: $525 including 
room and board. Contact Esme Dick, Interna- 
tional Film Seminars, 44 W. 56th St., 3rd fl., 
New York, NY 10019; (212) 582-0273. 



FEAR AND LOATHING AT 
FIGUEIRA DA FOZ 

When is a European film festival with a long 
tradition of supporting U.S. independents no 

MAY 1986 



longer worth attending? When the festival man- 
agement schedules films for additional post-fes- 
tival screenings without the filmmakers' knowl- 
edge or permission. When invited films are 
nowhere to be found on the festival schedule, 
and prints are not returned until months after the 
event. And when a jury's decision is censored be- 
cause the festival director doesn't like it. 

Unfortunately, my jaundiced view of Figueira 
da Foz, the premiere festival showcase in Por- 
tugal, comes from frustrating first-hand experi- 
ence. At the request of festival director Jose 
Vieira Marques, I programmed an out-of-com- 
petition sidebar, "Recent Trends in American 
Independent Filmmaking," for the 1985 event. 
In addition, I recommended to Marques that he 
screen Yvonne Rainer's recent The Man Who 
Envied Women, Peter Schnall's The Real Thing, 
and Alonzo Speight's The People United. Al- 
though he readily took my suggestions, the 
working relationship he and I shared while I was 
still in New York rapidly disintegrated once I 
reached the site of the festival. 

To his credit, Marques invites a broad and 
eclectic mix of films, providing something for 
everyone who attends. Last year's other special 
programs included a tribute to Robert Kramer, a 
U.S. independent living and working in France, 
and series of shorts, videotapes, and children's 
films. Audiences, composed mostly of vaca- 
tioners to the popular seaside resort, are very en- 
thusiastic, since Figueira da Foz is often the only 
place in Portugal many of these films can be 
seen. Although U.S. films in competition are 
traditionally few in number, 1985 's selections ran 
the gamut from experimental narrative to 
political documentary, and strong attendance at 
the afternoon screenings of the series I program- 
med indicated a continuing interest in older U.S. 
independent titles. But the absence of a signifi- 
cant alternative film network in Portugal makes 
the conduct of business a rather low priority, and 
most film professionals, notably television pro- 
grammers and several well-known distributors 
of independent films, were conspicuously ab- 
sent. Moreover, my efforts to make the most of 
whatever exhibition opportunities existed were 
repeatedly and inexplicably thwarted by the 
festival management. 

Some of the disappointments I encountered 
were unavoidable. The Association of Cine- 
Clubs expressed concrete interest in circulating 
the U.S. films, but the amount of money offered 
was so low that I felt it unwise to subject the 
prints to so many projections and declined. I also 
met with Portuguese television programming 
director Alberto Santos in Lisbon, who was very 
receptive. He bought Northern Lights, but as of 
this writing, a reported freeze on the export of 
Portuguese currency has placed the deal in limbo. 

Other problems, however, were traceable to 
actions by the festival I considered irresponsible. 
While the films of Rainer, Schnall, and Speight 
appeared in the festival catalogue, they were 



missing from the schedule. Every day I asked the 
director when they would appear, and every day 
he said tomorrow, but they were not shown until 
the last day, and probably would never have 
been screened if I had not been there to insist. 
This was extremely unfair to the filmmakers, for 
without advance scheduling, how could audi- 
ences be expected to attend? Since Marques had 
never the seen the films, he could not have ob- 
jected to my choices. He had asked me to make 
suggestions, invited the films, and even went so 
far as to share the cost of subtitling The Man 
Who Envied Women in French. Yet without ex- 
planation, he seemed unwilling to show them. 

Other events made me doubt Marques's trust- 
worthiness. When he first invited me to program 
a series of films, he told me he was an advisor to 
Portuguese television, and offered to help me 
sell the films for broadcast. But when I asked for 
his assistance on arrival, he denied his previous 
claims and I was left to contact TV programming 
director Santos on my own. Pedro Bandeira Fri- 
erira, who operates the Cinema Quarteto in 
Lisbon, was interested in booking Vortex and 
Gal Young 'Un, but because he could only work 
with a Portuguese distributor, he referred me to 
a company called Animatografo. The distrib- 
utor, however, was never able to consider the 
films because they had been taken from the 
television office by Marques. Without the 
knowledge or permission of the filmmakers or 
myself, he had brought Vortex to Madeira, an 
island off the southern coast of the Iberian 
peninsula, for an additional screening. Gal 
Young 'Un ended up in the hands of a nonprofit 
cinema in Lisbon, but since a screening there 
would have made a booking by a commercial ex- 
hibitor unlikely, I managed to stop it. Moreover, 
the people holding the print would not release it to 
me without authorization from the festival, and 
Marques would not answer my phone calls to Ma- 
deira, so no sale was made. 

In addition, the editors of Portugal's monthly 
women's magazine Mulheres wanted to screen 
Born in Flames, which was part of the sidebar, 
with an eye to writing about it, but it too was in 
Madeira with Marques, and so no article was 
written. Finally, it took months for the festival to 
return the prints to New York, causing at least 
one maker to miss a screening date. The moral of 
this story is, if you decide to participate in 
Figueira da Foz, go with your print, and don't let 
it out of your sight. 

A different kind of problem led to a very pub- 
lic scandal. If a last-minute invitation to serve on 
the art cinema jury, despite my admission that I 
had not seen nearly half the roughly 40 films in 
competition, did not cast suspicion on the awards 
process, then the subsequent censorship of the 
ecumenical jury's decision made it very difficult 
to trust the festival administration. Before the 
final evening awards presentation, an event 
taped for television, each jury shared its decision 
with Marques. But when the ecumenical jury, 



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composed of international film professionals 
and including many long time festival regulars, 
reported that they had decided no film deserved 
the prize, Marques suspended the jury rather 
than allow them to insult his festival. He con- 
tended that if no prize were given, the jury had, 
de facto, ceased to exist. The outraged jurors 
prepared a principled statement of their posi- 
tion, but not surprisingly, were not given the 
platform to speak at the awards ceremony. 
When one member took the microphone at the 
close of the proceedings and began to read their 
statement, the TV cameras stopped, the sound 
system was shut down, the podium was lowered 
into the orchestra pit, and even the houselights 
shut off, making it difficult and dangerous for 
the audience to find their way out of the audi- 
torium. 

This kind of jury censorship is inexcusable 
within an organization that purportedly pro- 
motes sharing ideas on film. Lisbon's two major 
newspapers, which inexplicably had sent news 
beat reporters rather than film critics to provide 
daily festival coverage, had a field day reporting 
the awards night debacle, and the bad publicity 
may place the future of the festival in jeopardy. 
The situation is made more precarious due to a 
new, competing event in Troia, which held its 
first edition in November 1985. A number of 
people I spoke to last September thought Troia 
could supplant Figueira da Foz as the country's 
most important film festival, and filmmakers 
who want to showcase their work in Portugal are 
advised to consider the alternative. 

— Wendy Lidell 

Wendy Lidell, a freelance programmer and 
distributor, formerly directed the FIVF Festival 
Bureau. 

Figueira da Foz will be held in early September. 
Accepts for competition fiction films, documen- 
taries "preferably about social issues, " and films 
for children, all over 60 min. Short films under 
12min. also welcome. No fee. 16mm and 35mm. 
Filmmaker responsible for film transportation 
both ways. Deadline: July- Aug. Office ad- 
dress: Festival Internacional de Cinema, Rua da 
Emenda 66-5° Dto, UOOLisboa, Portugal, attn. 
Fest Figueira da Foz; tel. 01/37 09 94; telex 
16640; Festival address: Festival Internacional 
de Cinema, Apartado 5407, 1709 Lisboa codex, 
Portugal. Films sent from abroad must be sent 
to Festival Internacional de Cinema da Figueira 
da Foz, c/o Maritima e Transitos, Lda, Rua da 
Conceicao 60-P, 110, Portugal; tel. 36 25 61; 
telex 18 811 MTLIS. 



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NORTHERN HIGHLIGHTS: THE 
FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS 

The eleventh annual outing of Toronto's Festival 
of Festivals will bow September 4-13 with a 



22 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1986 



75-picture Latin American retrospective and a 
new director, Leonard Schein. Programmer 
David Overby likens the Fest of Fests to a well- 
oiled machine, fueled by a 250-plus mix of gala 
film premieres {Death of a Salesman, Mishima), 
retrospectives, a healthy dose of Canadian pro- 
ductions, and a "Contemporary World Cine- 
ma" program focusing on international features 
and documentaries from new and stylistically 
original directors. Last year, this last section 
featured a number of U.S. films, including Don- 
na Deitch's Desert Hearts, Shirley Clarke's 
Ornette . . . Made in America, Mark Rappa- 
port's Chain Letters, Henry Jaglom's Always, 
Leon Ischaso's Crossover Dreams, Trin T. 
Minh-ha's Naked Spaces, and Joyce Chopra's 
Smooth Talk. 

Toronto is easily the largest noncompetitive 
festival in the world and as such attracts directors 
of other festivals, theatrical and television pro- 
grammers, distributors, producers, and jour- 
nalists. On the business side, a concurrent three- 
day trade forum addresses one practical issue 
each year through panels and seminars. 

Variety covers the festival from preview 
through wrap-up, reviewing films, reporting the 
chat, and detailing the business statistics. Screen- 
ings are scheduled in at least three theaters, all 
within walking distance of the festival's head- 
quarters at the Park Plaza Hotel. Thanks in part 
to Toronto's film-loving public, 1985 attendance 
figures topped 225,000. 

Fest of Fests programmer Kay Armitage 
comes to New York each July to screen U.S. in- 
dependent films at the National Film Board of 
Canada's Manhattan offices. But she, Overby, 
and Schein prefer filmmakers to send cassettes to 
them well before Armitage's summer trip, for by 
that time a good portion of the program has been 
filled thanks to their trips to Berlin and other 
festivals, word-of-mouth from a network of 
programmers, critics, and distributors, and un- 
solicited entries. From the U.S. the festival seeks 
dramatic and documentary films with a 
60-minute minimum running time. Only Cana- 
dian shorts are accepted. 

Filmmakers and guests will find Toronto 
enormously hospitable. Both Armitage and 
Overby put a great deal of effort into what they 
called the enjoyable responsibility of hosting 
filmmakers. Director of communications Helga 
Stephenson (who programmed this year's Latin 
American retrospective with Piers Handling), 
her press office chief Hael Kobayashi, and their 
staff are accommodating, organized, and gen- 
erous with their time and information. Although 
celebrities tend to hog the limelight in Toronto, 
the festival staff tries to make promoting the in- 
dependents a priority. Accommodations are 
generally provided by the festival and assistance 
with travel expenses is sometimes available. 
Distributors and the studios who provide the 
Hollywood fare hold at least one reception every 
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TURIN: SNEAK PREVIEW 

In years to come, the International Youth Film 
Festival in Turin, Italy, will be recognized as the 
premiere venue of new international filmmaking 
talent. The 1985 event, held October 12-20, at- 
tracted an array of features, documentaries, 
shorts, super 8, video, and special sections, and 
covered a dizzying range of subject matter, style, 
quality, and interest. 

Much of Turin's charm lay in its atmosphere. 
Unlike the cult of film superstars that dominates 
the ambience of Venice or Cannes, festival direc- 
tor and film professor Gianni Rondolino and his 
staff have created an atmosphere in which estab- 
lished directors, first timers, and young film 
buffs can meet and trade ideas. The Opere 
Prime, which invites directors of first features 
and films on youth themes of any length, is the 
festival's main attraction. But much of the 
event's vitality comes from the Open Section 
competition that welcomes all short films by 
directors under 30 years of age, plus an interna- 
tional array of videotapes and super 8 films. 

Invited directors from the U.S. included Eric 
Mitchell (The Way It Is), Sam Irvin (Double 
Negative), Danny and Nancy Lyon (Willie and 
Born to Film), and Dennis Piana (Screamplay). 
On most evenings, they could be found in the 
dining room of the Hotel Concorde, where they 
stayed as the festival's guests. Their Open Sec- 
tion counterparts — Christine Vachon (Days Are 
Numbered), Kate Davis (Vacant Lot), and 
Robert Palumbo (Smile Thief), among 
others — were accommodated at the youth hostel 
and dined at the university dining room. 
Although cafeteria fare couldn't quite compare 
to the northern Italian cuisine offered by Turin's 
restaurants, it provided this young crowd with a 
meeting place to discuss their films and plan 
outings. 

All festival theaters and offices were centrally 
located and within walking distance of each 
other. The administrative and hospitality offices 
were housed in a complex on via Principe Ame- 
deo, steps from the fest's main 1,500-seat 



Cinema Romano. The Cinema Faro, which hous- 
ed the retrospective of German films of the six- 
ties, and the Cinema King Kong, where the Open 
Section's 16mm and 35mm films were screened, 
were situated along the via Po, a wide avenue of 
sidewalk cafes that opens onto one of Europe's 
grandest piazzas. Of course, like everything else 
in Italy, the festival offices were closed and film 
screenings suspended from noon to 3 p.m. for 
the cherished midday repast. 

Video and super 8 exhibitions were held in 
three specially-built pre-fab screening rooms 
located on the public piazza adjoining the office 
building. Italian and West German videomakers 
were best represented in the video section, but 
there were also scratch videos from Great Bri- 
tain, and tapes from Hong Kong, Belgium, and 
France. The U.S. video selection included 
Eulogy, by Rick Hauser; I'm Only There When I 
Cant Get Away, by Dean Bell; Quiet Despera- 
tion, by David McGuirls; Blond Sleep in 
Gotham and Pompeii in New York, Part 1, by 
Ivan Galietti; The Day-time Moon, by Sandy 
Smolan; and a compilation of music videos from 
the record label SST that attracted a colorful 
contingent of Turin's punkers. 

According to Variety, attendance topped 
40,000 last year. Journalists from all over Italy 
and the continent covered the festival, and TV 
and radio interviews were common for the high- 
er profile producers. Some screenings, like the 
repeat showings of Open Section films, were not 
well-attended (although, with four venues op- 
erating simultaneously day and night, they were 
nonetheless appreciated). Other, more commer- 
cial films drew large crowds, and, in the case of 
Dennis Brody and Robert Kenner's 3:15, a near- 
riotous reaction, provoked by the semi-exploita- 
tive nature of the film's narrative. Brody and 
Kenner barely escaped the screening, but at a 
press conference the next day, they defended their 
intentions eloquently, while giving rare insight in- 
to the machinations of Hollywood independent 
production. 

One attraction of Turin for producers with 
more commercial product is the close proximity 




24 THE INDEPENDENT 



Phoebe Legere in Ivan Gallettl's "Pompeii 
New York," screened at the video section of 
Turin. 

Courtesy videomaker 

MAY 1986 



of the Mifed market, which begins just as the 
International Youth Film Festival ends. Though 
not a market, Turin will hold a competition 
within the Opere Prime section for the first time 
in 1986, just as it has in the past for short 16mm 
and 35mm films, video, and super 8. Another of 
next year's featured programs will be a 
retrospective devoted to the U.S. Independent 
Cinema movement of the sixties, featuring the 
work of Mekas, Anger, Brakhage, Cassavetes, 
Pennebaker, Leacock, Clarke, De Antonio and 
others, many of whom will be in attendance. 

My one suggestion is that the festival consider 
adding a simple hospitality lounge or designate a 
particular cafe as a central festival meeting point. 
The many young Open Section directors attend- 
ing their first festival with their first film on their 
first visit to Italy could use additional help. A 
number arrived in various states of collapse, hav- 
ing just hitched for 36 hours from distant Euro- 
pean capitals, only to be handed a veritable 
scavenger hunt map to the youth hostel located a 
half-hour's walk away. How about making 
available a car or mini-bus to shuttle filmmakers 
from the hostel to the main festival site? 

— RA 

In 1986 the festival will be held for 10 days in 
mid-October. Feature competition for first 
features or feature films on youth themes. Nar- 
ratives and documentaries accepted. Feature 
comp. format: 16mm & 35mm. Separate shorts 
competitions for 16mm & 35mm films under 60 
min., video and s-8. All styles and genres 
welcome. Filmmakers entering the shorts, video 
and s-8 competitions must be under 30 yrs. old. 
Each format awarded a "best of" prize for 
Italian and foreign productions. Deadline for 
entries Aug. 1. Shorts out of competition may be 
submitted up to Sept. 1. Short films not accepted 
into competition will be invited to participate in 
the Open Section out of competition. For entry 
forms and regulations, send SASE to Guido 
Chiesa, 87 St. Mark's Place, Apt. C, New York, 
NY 10003; (212) 228-6349. Submit work on 
16mm, 'A "or VHStoAIVF, 625 Broadway, 9th 
ft., New York, NY 10012. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Robert Aaronson. Listings do not con- 
stitute an endorsement, and since some 
details change faster than we do, we rec- 
ommend that you contact the festival for 
further information before sending prints or 
tapes. If your experience differs from our ac- 
count, please let us know so we can improve 
our reliability. 
MAY 1986 



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THE INDEPENDENT 25 



Domestic 



• DENVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTI- 
VAL, Oct. 15-19, CO. Five-day, 100-film & video 
showcase puts heavy emphasis on new U.S. produc- 
tions, particularly documentary. Eight-year-old 
festival reached 50,000 in 1985 and sold out many of 
the 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. screenings, evening tributes to 
celebs & discussions with the guest filmmakers & 
critics. Last year, in addition to Ellen Burstyn, Jeff 
Goldblum & Richard Drey fuss, fest hosted Penelope 
Spheeris & other independent directors, including the 
makers of Desert Hearts, The Old Forest, Always & 
Joy That Kills (narratives); Louie Bluie, What Hap- 
pened to Kerouac, Choosing Victory, Unfinished 
Business & Dance Black America (documen- 
taries). The video section screened Orwell Revisited, 
Everglades City, France's The Music Is the Weapon: 
Fela, Africa Calvary: The Crucifixion from Kenya & 
a compilation program chosen by critic Amy Taubin. 
Send detailed description of work, including credits, 
reviews & synopsis to director Ron Henderson or 
programmer Forrest Ceisol, United Bank Denver 
Film Festival, 609 E. Speer Blvd., Box 17508, 
Denver, CO 80217; (303) 744-1031. 

• HA WAII INTERNATIONAL FILM & VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, HI. Melange of 
features, shorts, documentaries, seminars, papers, 
special events, awards & island hopping make HIFF 
a major attraction for producers, distributors & pro- 
grammers of films that "promote better relations and 
understanding between the U.S. & the people of Asia 
& the Pacific." Over 70 films screened last year from 
the U.S., Japan, China, India, Hong Kong, Malay- 
sia, England, Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, 



South Korea, Vietnam & West Germany. Over 40 
U.S. entries included Wayne Wang's Dim Sum, Peter 
Wang's The Great Wall, Haskell Wexler's Latino, 
Robert Richter's Hungry for Profit, Nancy 
Yasecko's Growing Up with Rockets & Ken Selden's 
Vacant Lot. Seminars ranged from Wexler's 
director's seminar to "Which Film Voice to Use: 
Documentary, Docudrama, or Fiction Film" to "In- 
ternational Financing of Films in a World of Change. " 
The festival catalogue contains essays on subjects like 
the film's role in intercultural communication & the 
films of Asia. Over 40,000 people attend the festival's 
free public screenings that begin on Maui & move to 
Oahu halfway through. Formats: VHS, Beta, 3 A", 
16mm & 35mm. Video transfers of films preferred for 
preselection. Producers should include bio, short 
synopsis, final format of entry & running time. 
Deadline: May 31. Contact Jeannette Paulson, coor- 
dinator, Hawaii International Film Festival, East-West 
Center, 1777 East- West Rd. Honolulu, HI 96848; (808) 
944-7666. 

• TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL, Aug.29-Sept. 
1, CO. 1986 is the 13th edition of Bill & Stella Pense's 
festival, held each year at their not-so-hidden moun- 
tain retreat on Labor Day weekend. Approximately 
50 films are showcased for an elite group of pro- 
ducers, distributors, critics & film buffs willing to 
pay upwards of $200 for the privilege. A good deal of 
the festival is reserved for tributes, seminars, 
retrospectives & rediscoveries of classics of world 
cinema. On the other hand, the program of new U.S. 
films offers a sneak preview of what the program- 
mers hope will become hot prospects at October's 
New York Film Festival & future hits of the art house 
circuit. For both domestic & foreign product the con- 
cept is the same: films are not reviewed, therefore 
preserving their pristine status for official premieres 



in major markets. Word of mouth travels fast & 
although there is no market as such, deals are made 
by distributors who are, like the prospectors who 
preceded them to this Rocky Mountain terrain, look- 
ing for gold. Last year's group of independent pro- 
ductions included Ken Burns's Huey Long, Peter 
Wang's The Great Wall, Donna Deitch's Desert 
Hearts & Dean Parisot's Berlin Fest Golden Bear 
winner, the 10-min. Tom Goes to the Bar. Fest ac- 
cepts narrative features, docs & shorts of the highest 
production values (though not necessarily the highest 
budget) & originality. Formats: 16mm & 35mm. Call 
or send information to National Film Preserve, Box 
Bl 156, Hanover, NH 03755; (603) 643-1255. Fest ad- 
dress is 119 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride, CO 81345; 
(303) 728-4401. 

• UPTO WN SHOR T FILM & VIDEO CONTEST, 
Sept., NYC. Uptown is a pay movie & cultural pro- 
gramming service on Manhattan's Group W Cable, the 
system that serves the northern neighborhoods of the 
Big Apple. Their latest promotional effort is a com- 
petition for hard-to-program short films & videos. 
Prizes include $500 (1st), $300 (2nd), $200 (3rd), $100 
(people's choice), 2 $250 "best first film" awards & 1 
$250 "best drama" prize. In addition, winners will be 
offered an optional distribution contract from Coe 
Films, a free film-to-tape transfer at TVR Labs & a 
guaranteed showing on Uptown in Sept. as part of the 
service's annual tribute to the New York Film Festival. 
Work must be 30 min. or less. Any film or video for- 
mat accepted but work must be entered on Vt " or VHS 
for selection screenings. All styles, genres & subject 
matter welcome. Judges are Bernice Coe, Bill Sloane 
of the Film Dept. of the Museum of Modern Art & 
Debra Wells, pay program manager for Uptown. $10 
fee; $5 for Uptown subscribers. Work must have been 
completed during the 18 mos. prior to April 1986. 




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26 THE INDEPENDENT 



MAY 1986 



Deadline: May 31. Send SASE for entry form to Up- 
town Short Film & Video Contest, Group W Cable, 
5120 Broadway, New York, NY 10034; (212) 304-3250. 



Foreign 



• EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL, Aug., 
Scotland. Director Jim Hickey programs an eclectic 
mixture of Hollywood features, foreign art films, 
documentaries, shorts & U.S. independents in this 
2-week, 150-plus film festival that takes place during 
the annual city-wide international arts festival. 1986 
will be the 40th edition of the festival & Hickey 's 6th. 
Filmmakers who attend receive accommodations for 
at least 3 days; past visitors report enjoying the films 
& meeting fellow directors, film festival represen- 
tatives & British distributors. Variety calls the event 
"a unique European launching pad for the liveliest of 
new cinema." Last year's attendees included Rod 



Webb of Sydney, Heinz Badewitz of Hof, Derek 
Malcolm of London & filmmaker Wayne Wang with 
Dim Sum. Hickey travels to Rotterdam, Cannes & 
Berlin, so U.S. producers are advised to send their 
work directly. Fest's 250- and 90-seat theaters are 
located in Filmhouse complex that also serves as 
rendezvous point. Audiences to 15,000. Application 
deadline: mid-May; full documentation, entries & 
stills due by June 13. Formats: 16mm & 35mm. Video 
OK for preview. 10 lb. handling fee. Contact Jim 
Hickey, Edinburgh Film Festival, Filmhouse, 88 
Lothian Rd., Edinburgh, Eh3 9B2 Scotland; tel. 031 
228 6382/3; telex 72165. Apps. avail, at AIVF. 

• TYNESIDE INTERNATIONAL FILM & VID- 
EO FESTIVAL, Oct. 8-19, England. Ninth outing 
for England's only international competitive event. 
Fest specializes in independent productions; in 1986 
will focus on gay & lesbian themes & on films & 
videos about & from the Spanish-speaking world. 
Regular range of work from "independent world 



cinema" will also be represented. U.S films & tapes 
last year included Louis Hock's The Mexican Tapes, 
Joan Harvey's A Matter of Struggle, Kartemquin 
Films' Taylor Chain II, Greta Schiller's Before 
Stonewall, Steven Okazaki's Unfinished Business, 
Reynold Weidenaar's Stillness, Theresa Tollini's 
Breaking Silence, Kirby Dick's Private Practices, 
Randy Strohsam's Women of Steel, Charles Koppel- 
man's Squatters & Cathey Edward's Songs of Wool. 
4000 pounds sterling award for best feature; 1500 for 
best film or video under 45 min.; 1000, best video 
award, 500 for audience prize & a local filmmaker 
award. Last year's winners were a West German en- 
try, a British short & a Dutch video on Winnie 
Mandela. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, S-8,% " & VHS; 
NTSC OK. Deadline for forms: June 27; for films: 
July 11. Contact Fred Brookes, director or Peter 
Packer, programmer, Tyneside Film Festival, 10 
Pilgrim St., Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6Q6, Eng- 
land; (091) 232 1507. Forms avail, at AIVF (send 
SASE). 



IN & OUT OF PRODUCTION 



Andrea Estepa 



St. Clair Bourne's hour-long documentary 
Langston Hughes: The Dream Keeper is in post- 
production. The film examines the life, works, 
travels, and politics of Hughes, the black Ameri- 
can writer whose career began during the 
Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and continued 
through the 1960s Black Pride movement. 
Shooting took place between October 1985 and 
January 1986 on various locations in the U.S., 
Paris, and Dakar, Senegal. Dream Keeper will 
include interviews with Hughes's former col- 
leagues, literary scholars, and fellow writers, in- 
cluding James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, and 
Gwendolyn Brooks; dramatic and film montage 
interpretations of his poems; and his letters and 
manuscripts, expressed visually through computer 
graphics. The film is being produced by the New 
York Center for Visual History as part of its 
Voices and Visions project, a series of portraits 
of poets Hughes, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickin- 
son, Hart Crane, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, 
and William Carlos Williams. The entire series 
will be broadcast on public television later this 
year. Langston Hughes: The Dream Keeper: 
New York Center for Visual History, 625 Broad- 
way, 12th fl., New York, NY 10012; (212) 
673-8070. 

Kevin Bender and Aron Ranen have complet- 
ed shooting True Believers, a video documentary 
about the influence of television on religious life 
in the contemporary United States. The tape 
focuses on Peter Popoff, a Los Angeles-based 
TV evangelist, faith healer, and bible smuggler. 
In addition to footage of Popoff in action, the 
tape includes interviews with individuals he has 
"healed." A 22-minute version of True Believers 
won a Gold Seal award at the London Interna- 
tional Amateur Film Festival in March. The pro- 
MAY 1986 



ducers are currently adding new footage to the 
piece and expect the final cut to run 28 minutes. 
True Believers was commissioned by the Long 
Beach Museum of Art for its Open Channels 
cable television video art series. Additional fund- 
ing came from the National Endowment for the 
Arts Regional Media Fellowship program. True 
Believers: Kevin Bender, Box 7605, Berkeley, 
CA 94707; (415) 763-3914. 

Media Hostages, a video triptych with seg- 
ments by Chip Lord, Branda Miller, and Mun- 
tadas had its New York City premiere in 
February at Exit Art. The tapes focus on a recent 
promotional marathon contest to hype a new 
brand of electronic jewelry, in which a group of 
aspiring actors camped out on a narrow plat- 
form hung from a billboard high above Los 
Angeles's Sunset Boulevard. The prizes for the 
last survivor were those two crucial symbols of 
Hollywood success: a screen test and a new car. 
Chip Lord's Future Language takes viewers on a 
cruise of Sunset in the back seat of a car, where 
we hear the traffic, the passers-by, the dialogue 
between the two people in the front seat, and 
news reports of the marathon's progress. Unset 
Blvd., by Branda Miller, focuses on the sole fe- 
male contestant, her dreams and memories, and 
uses the movement of the camera to echo the 
boredom and repetition of the marathon experi- 
ence. The broader social significance of the event 
is addressed by Muntada's S.S.S., which uses 
the contest to critique the influence of con- 
sumerism, competition, manipulation, and me- 
dia hype on our lives. Media Hostages: Elec- 
tronic Arts Intermix, 10 Waverly Place, New 
York, NY 10003; (212) 473-6822. 

The New England Foundation for the Arts is 
sponsoring a national tour of Mary Lucier's 
video installation, Wilderness. Using seven video 
monitors and three channels of videotape, 
Lucier examines the conflict between nature and 



civilization by weaving together images of un- 
spoiled land and sea with those of industry and 
man-made objects. The installation was on view 
at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass- 
achusetts, in January and February and will 
travel to Hartford, Connecticut; Portland, 
Maine; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Minneapolis, 
Minnesota; and Los Angeles, California, be- 
tween now and March 1987. The work was fund- 
ed by the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and 
Humanities, the NEA, the New York State 
Council on the Arts, and the John Simon Gug- 
genheim Memorial Foundation. NEFA is pro- 
viding the installation's hosts with the state of 
the art video equipment necessary for its exhibi- 
tion. Wilderness: New England Foundation for 
the Arts, 678 Massachusetts Avenue, Cam- 
bridge, MA 02139; (617) 492-2914. 

The joys and sorrows of gay life in contempo- 
rary New York are explored by writer/director 
Bill Sherwood in Parting Glances. The 
90-minute color film portrays a particularly 
significant day in the life of Michael, a young 
writer/editor. Robert, Michael's lover of six 
years, is preparing to leave for a job in Kenya the 
next day. Michael's feelings of abandonment 
lead him to reexamine his feelings for his friend 
and former lover Nick, a sarcastic punk rock 
musician who recently discovered that he has 
AIDS. Against a backdrop of farewell parties 
for Robert, the film manages to portray the in- 
terrelationships of this emotionally charged tri- 
angle and their circle of friends in a realistic, 
humorous, and unsentimental way. The film, 
which is being distributed by Cinecom Interna- 
tional, has been released theatrically in a number 
of cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, 
Seattle, and Los Angeles, with additional open- 
ings slated for later this spring. Parting Glances: 
Cinecom International, 7 West 36th St., New 
York, NY 10018; (212) 239-8360. 

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CLASSIFIEDS 



The Independenfs Classifieds column in- 
cludes all listings for the "Buy • Rent • Sell," 
"Freelancers," and "Postproduction" cate- 
gories. It is restricted to members only. Each 
entry has a 250-word limit and costs $15 
per issue. Payment must be made at time 
of submission. Anyone wishing to run a classi- 
fied more than once must pay for each in- 
sertion and indicate the number of insertions 
on the submitted copy. Each classified must 
be typed, double-spaced, and worded ex- 
actly as it should appear. 

Deadlines for Classifieds will be respected. 
These are the 8th of each month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., June 8 for 
August/September issue. Make check or 
money order-no cash please-payable to 
FIVF and send to: Independent Classifieds, 
FIVR 625 Broadway, 9th floor, New York, NY 
10012. 



Buy • Rent • Sell 



• FOR SALE: CP16R, orientable finder, 4 PLC 
mags, 3 new batts, new gang charger, Haliburton, 
barney, many extras. Recently rebuilt by factory to 
the new & higher CP standards $3500. Bolex H16R, 
10 Switar, 17-85 Rank-Taylor Zoom, Rex-o-fader, 
Pistol grip, extras, $1000 Hal (914) 355-1400. 

• FOR SALE: Custom made soft barneys and cases 
for film/ video equipment. Leather or cordura. 
Denise Brassard, (212) 864-1372. 

• FOR SALE: JVC Va " Editing System. CR8200/ 
CP5500/RM88U including cables. Good working 
condition. Some cosmetic blemishes. $3300 plus 
shipping. Greg Epler Wood (202) 885-2046. 

• FOR SALE: Pro Super 8 Beaulieu 4008ZMII with 
crystal control unit, bridge plate, sticks/supports, all 
mint $400. O.P.C., 11285 E. 6th Place, Aurora, CO 
80010-4602,(303)343-3581. 

• FOR SALE: 8mm Distagon $1,200. Elemack Dolly 
$17,500. Mitchell 35 Hi Speed 5200. Arri 16S Pkg. 
$2,800. 25-250 Ang. $4,400. Arri 2B Pkg., $3,800. 
New Sachtler 7 + 7 kit $3,200. New Filmo Bodies $900. 
400 ' 35BL Bodies $900. 400 ' NPR Mags 1595. 400 ' 
35BL Mags, $2,800. 10mm Arri Mt. $350. Call 201 
659-4430 for catalog. Tony Zaza, Crosscountry 
Film/ Video. 



Freelancers 



• EXPERIENCED FILM SOUNDMAN: Will 
work on your feature or documentary. Recordist, 
boom, or playback. Excellent equipment available. 
Doug Tourtelot, (212) 489-0232. 

• HISTORICAL PRODUCTION STYLIST/ 
CONSULTANT, Research and Script Review, 
Movement and Performance Coaching. Experienced 
Producer/Choreographer, Cultural Historian 
(Ph.D.), and Museum Curator. Granada History 
Productions, (703) 841-0044, or 1336 North Ode 
Street, Suite #9, Arlington, VA 22209. 

• CAMERMAN & SOUNDMAN: Aaton XTR & 
Nagra 4.2 with Aaton timecode base (SMPTE or 



Aaton cleartime coding available). Save time and 
money in post-production with our state of the art 
equipment. Prefer documentary work. (212) 
532-2031 ask for Mark or Bram. 

• MAKE-UP/HAIR ARTIST will work on your 
feature, doc, music video or commercial. Experi- 
enced in special effects, period work, wigs, contem- 
porary beauty or character study. Location work no 
difficulty. (212) 736-1100, Janice King. 

• BUDGETING BY COMPUTER: Producer with 
10 years exp. budgeting film and video. PBS 
specialist. State-of-the-art system can print personal- 
ly designed budgets for documentary or fiction. 
Make revisions at lightning speed. Ed Gray, (212) 
242-1376. 

• PRODUCTION: High quality %" video and 
16mm film for independent and commercial pro- 
jects. Available for remote — local, national and in- 
ternational: narrative, documentary, industrials, 
dance. Transportation available. Call for rates. 
Jamie Maxtone-Graham, (718) 636-5590. 

O CINEMA TOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER: 

Award-winning work includes independent features, 
network magazine, documentary, etc. Complete 
16mm Aaton package. Hal Landen (914) 355-1400, 
NY. 

• FOR HIRE: Videographer with Hitachi FP22 
camera, VHS and V* " production packages, trans- 
portation, willing to travel, from $300/day. Living 
Productions (212) 924-8861. 

• VIDEOGRAPHER w/ Sony M3 camera & broad- 
cast gear. Avail to shoot news, documentary, dance, 
etc. Full ENG pkg. & crew as needed, commercial 
vehicle. Neg. rates. L. Goodsmith, (212) 989-8157, 
NYC. 

• EXPERIENCED CONTINUITY/SCRIPT SU- 
PERVISOR with excellent references available for 
features and shorts. Ed Fabry (212) 666-7514. 

• VIDEO/FILM PRODUCTION: Industrial and 
broadcast packages with full crews available at 
reasonable rates. Experienced with performance, 
documentary, corporate, fashion, sports, dramatic 
and concert. Call Don at Afterimage (212) 666-7514. 



Postproduction 



28 THE INDEPENDENT 



• MOVIOLA M-77 flat beds for rent: 6-plate flat- 
beds for rent in your work space. Cheapest rates in 
NYC for independent filmmakers. Call: Philmaster 
Productions (212) 873-4470. 

• BOB BRODSKY AND TONI TREADWAY 

Super 8 and 8mm film-to-video mastering with scene- 
by-scene corrections to V* ", 1 " and high speed com- 
ponent. By appointment only. Call (617) 666-3372. 

• NEGATIVE MATCHING: 16mm, Super 16, 
35mm cut for regular printing, blowup, or video 
transfer. Credits include Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wen- 
ders, and Yvonne Rainer. Reliable results at reason- 
able rates. One White Glove, Tim Brennan, (718) 
897-4145, NYC. 

• STEENBECK EDITING ROOM RENTAL: Ful- 
ly equipped: 6-plate, telephone, 24 hr. access. Special 
rates for independents. Call (212) 473-2033. Ask for 
Bob. 

• VIDEO EDITING: VHS, very good rates for in- 
dependents — convenient Village location. Tel: 
212-254-2857, NYC. 

MAY 1986 



NOTICES 



Notices are listed free of charge. AIVF 
members receive first priority; others are in- 
cluded as space permits. The Indepen- 
dent reserves the right to edit for length. 

Deadlines for Notices will be respected. 
These are the 8th of month, two months 
prior to cover date, e.g., June 8 for 
August/September issue. Send notices to 
Independent Notices, FIVF, 625 Broadway, 
9th floor, New York, NY 10012. 



Films • Tapes Wanted 



• THE TAPE EXCHANGE: Non-commercial 
videotapes by independents sought for inclusion in 
computerized database of programming available to 
California's local cable channels. Producers inter- 
ested in listing their videotapes should contact the 
Foundation for Community Service Cable Televi- 
sion, 5010 Gerry Blvd., Ste. 3, San Francisco, CA 
94118; (415) 387-0200. 

• INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTOR looking for 
new film & video works to join our other award- 
winners on nursing, health care, the environment, sex 
roles & parenting, women's & related issues. Contact 
Fanlight Productions, (617) 524-0980. 

• CINEMA VERITE, weekly prime time TV series 
presenting works of independent filmmakers, seeks 
films/ videotapes for programming consideration. 
(Documentaries, art & dance films, dramas, short 
subjects &/or works in progress, shot on video or 
film, are acceptable.) Please send 3 /5 " videotape 
w/SASE for return to Cinema Verite Int'l Inc., 444 
E. 86th St., Apt. 21J, New York, NY 10028. 

• NIGHTFLIGHT seeks short tapes & films by 
students & young artists for "New Filmmakers" seg- 
ment on USA Cable. Those selected will receive 
$10/min. for use. Contact Carrie Franklin, ATI 
Video Ent., 888 7th Ave., New York, NY 10028; (212) 
977-2300. 

• CAMPUS NETWORK, a TV network that broad- 
casts exclusively to colleges & universities, is now ac- 
cepting % " videos for programming. If accepted, 
producers will receive $17/min. for a 1-week exhibi- 
tion period. Contact Campus Network, c/o Steve 
Amateau, 114 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011; (212) 
206-1953. 

• ARTISTS VIDEOTAPE RENTALS store opens 
March '86 in hi-traffic Manhattan location. Seeking 
inventory: artists & indies on VHS format. Write for 
details: Colab TV, 285 Varet St., Brooklyn, NY 
11206. 

• ATTENTION VIDEO ARTISTS interested in 
working on a collaborative piece for TV. Seeking 6 
diverse video/filmmakers to produce 5-minute 
segments for 30-minute narrative program. "Video 
Chain Letters" combines new storytelling tech- 
niques, latest video technologies & viewer involve- 
ment. Contact Pamela Weiner, (212) 734-8440. 

MAY 1986 



• REAL FILM & VIDEO seeks independently pro- 
duced programming for domestic & foreign markets. 
All subjects. Must be broadcast quality. Good con- 
nections w/overseas TV. Contact Ruth J. Feldman, 
1433 10th St., #7, Santa Monica, CA 90401; (213) 
394-2984. 

• MARGARET RANDALL: We need snapshots, 
videos, film, audio or other archival material for 
authorized film about artist Margaret Randall. Did 
you visit or film Margaret in Latin America, or see 
her in the US in the late 1950s? Contact 
Levine/Knauer Films, 3414 Baring St., Philadelphia, 
PA 19104; (215) 382-8947. 

• NEW DAY FILMS: Award- winning national film 
cooperative of independents seeks new films on 
social & health issues. Absolute deadline: May 15, 
1986. Call Margaret Cooper now! (212) 477-4604. 

• DISTRIBUTOR looking for quality documen- 
tary, educational, artistic or children's films & tapes. 
Contact Elizabeth DiNolfo, Northern Light Produc- 
tions, 165 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, (617) 
267-0391. 



Conferences • Workshops 

• FUNDRAISING MANAGEMENT FOR THE 
MEDIA ARTS: Four-week course beginning May 7 
for nonprofit arts organizations & independent pro- 
ducers. Contact Media Alliance; (212) 560-2919. 

• INTERNATIONAL FILM WORKSHOPS: June 
& July 1986 in Rockport, Maine. For working profes- 
sionals who want to develop greater skills w/in the 
field & advance their careers. One- & 2-week master 
classes & workshops, weekend seminars & clinics, 
incl. camera, scriptwriting, AC's clinic, film actors, 
production, lighting, AD/PM workshop, electronic 
cinematography, film director master class, editing, 
Steadicam/Panaglide workshop, TV news feature 
workshop, producing & directing for TV commer- 
cials & funding film projects. Int'l Film Workshops, 
Rockport, ME 04856; (207) 236-8581. 

• NYS SUMMER SCHOOL OF MEDIA ARTS for 
high school students from the state. Six weeks, from 
June 22-Aug. 1, 1986 at the Ctr. for Media Study, 
State University at Buffalo & Media Study/Buffalo. 
Tuition is $1,000, incl. room, board, supplies & 
special events. Tuition assistance available ranging 
from $75 to full tuition. Contact Bob Reals or 
Marilee Hamelin, NYS Summer School of Media 
Arts, Rm. 681 EBA, State Educ. Dept., Albany, NY 
12234; (518)474-8773. 

• AFI FACULTY DEVELOPMENT WORK- 
SHOPS in film, TV, video & research for summer, 
1986. Workshops held at at AFI Los Angeles campus 
incl. Film/TV Documentation Workshop, July 7-12; 
Documentary Film & Video: A Critical View, July 
7-11; Intro to the Study of Film & Video for High 
School Teachers, July 14-18; Beyond Structuralism: 
Contemporary Film & TV Theory, Aug. 4-8; Direc- 
tors Guild Hollywood Workshop, Aug. 8-15 & 
Video Production: New Directions, Aug. 4-15. 
Other workshops incl. Interactive Video Disc & 
Moviemaking, June 23-27 at MIT in Cambridge, 
MA; Archaeology of Early Cinema at American 
Univ., Washington, DC & Teaching Film at the 
Secondary & Junior College Levels at the Film & 
Video Summer Institute, Univ. of Hawaii summer 



session in Honolulu. Contact AFI, (213) 856-7725 or 
(800)221-6248. 

• UNIVERSITY OF HA WAII Film & Video Sum- 
mer Institute, July 7-Aug. 2. Special features incl. 
conference on "Cinema as a Window on Japanese 
Culture" & Indian film series. Workshops & talks on 
video text analysis; humanities in film; psychology & 
religion in film; film & video production & acting. 
Mondays thru Fridays, 10 am-4 pm w/additional 
programs & screenings eves. & weekends. Contact 
Film & Video Summer Institute, Summer Session, 
Univ. of Hawaii, Krauss Hall 101, 2500 Dole St., 
Honolulu, HI 96822; (808) 948-7221. 

• L.A. PROFESSIONAL VIDEOSHOW at the 
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA, 
May 12-16. Exhibits of state-of-the-art video equip- 
ment & technology & seminar program. Contact Ann 
Bisgyer, Knowledge Industry Publications, Inc., 701 
Westchester Ave., White Plains, NY 10604; (800) 
248-KIPI or in NYS call (914) 328-9157. 

• 1986 WORLD CONFERENCE OF ARTS, 
POLITICS & BUSINESS in Vancouver, British Col- 
umbia, Canada, July 22-25. Focus on "How to Keep 
the Arts Healthy." Write 1986 World Conference on 
Arts, Politics & Business, 5997 Iona Dr., Vancouver, 
BC, Canada V6T 2A4; (604) 222-5232. 

• ARTISTS WORKSHOPS in Minneapolis-St. 
Paul area, cosponsored by Resources & Counseling 
and the US Small Business Adm. Incl. Marketing for 
Visual Artists, May 5 ; Findings of Study of Financial 
Condition of Small Twin Cities Arts Groups, May 
14; Demystifying Computers, May 9; Fundraising 
Research, May 16; Grantwriting, May 17; Special 
Events Fundraising, May 6; Membership Programs, 
May 13; Asking for Money in Person, May 20 & Op- 
portunities in Arts Adm., May 14. Contact Judith 
Gabriel, 416 Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St., St. 
Paul, MN 55102. 



Resources • Funds 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE 
HUMANITIES: Media Program deadline for 1986, 
September 19 for projects beg. after April 1987. Con- 
tact NEH, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washing- 
ton, DC 20506. 

• NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS: 
Deadlines for 1986: Media Arts Centers & Nat'l Serv- 
ices, May 2; Radio Projects, July 18; Int'l U.S./ 
Japan Exchange for Media Arts, June 2. Contact 
NEA, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, 
DC 20506. 

• CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCAST- 
ING Open Solicitations, next deadline: May 2, 1986. 
Contact CPB, 1111 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 
20036; (202) 293-6160. 

• NEW YORK COUNCIL FOR THE 
HUMANITIES 1986 proposal deadlines: June 1 & 
December 15. Contact NYCH, 198 Broadway, 10th 
fl., New York, NY 10038; (212) 233-1131. 

• NEW JERSEY STATE COUNCIL ON THE 
ARTS 1987 Matching Grant & Fellowship applica- 
tions available upon request. Call NJSCA, (609) 
292-6130 or 292-0495. Applications also avail, at 
New Jersey county libraries & arts agencies. 

THE INDEPENDENT 29 



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• VIDEO SERVICE PROGRAM FOR NEW 
YORK STATE DANCE COMMUNITY offered by 
Inter-Media Art Center. Offers 5 choreographers 
free access to the Center's professional theater & TV 
production facilities to create videotapes designed to 
advance them artistically & professionally. Contact 
IM AC, (516)549-9666. 

Opportunities • Gigs 

• SANDINISTA ASSOCIATION OF CULTURAL 
WORKERS delegation of performers, artists & 
writers to Nicaragua, May 22- June 1 . Approximate 
cost, $ 1 ,000 incl . travel from New York City via Mex- 
ico City, food, lodging, group transportation & 
translation. Passport valid thru Dec. 1986 required. 
Call or write Ventana, 250 W. 54th St., #800, New 
York, NY 10019; (212) 586-3700. 

• VIDEO CAMERA OPERATOR wanted for 
documentary project & basic operation instruction. 
Experienced, capable of basic equipment mainte- 
nance. Video deck & sound operator, experienced. 
Resumes to Sidewalks of New York Prods., Box 968, 
Old Chelsea Sta., New York, NY 10113. 

• REAL-LIFE ADVENTURE FILMS: Need crew 
w/good health for separate docu-dramas in the 
Amazon River, sailing in the Caribbean & Africa. 
Summer & winter, 1986-87. Pay & expenses. If own 
equipment, helpful but not necessary. Write to 
Robert Monticello Productions, Box 372, New York, 
NY 10014. 

• NON-UNION B&W FEATURE needs cinema- 
tographer w/strong B&W samples on reel. Contact 
Franco Productions, Box 2253, Stuyvesant Sta., 
New York, NY 10009. 

• SUPER 8 PRODUCTION: Independent producer 
seeking volunteer(s); actors, cinematographers, 
sound mixer, gaffer(s), special effects design, art 
director(s), make-up & hairstylist & other crew posi- 
tions. Send resume or letter to Gaspar Productions, 
Box 3764, Chatsworth, CA 91313-3764. 

• ARTIST CALL FOR NON-INTERVENTION 
IN CENTRAL AMERICA is seeking creative in- 
dividuals who are interested in actively participating 
in projects to raise funds for material support to ar- 
tists/technicians in Nicaragua, to organize exhibi- 
tions of Nicaraguan artists' work here in the US, 
cultural exchanges, etc. CHISPA, 318 E. 6th St., Box 
191, New York, NY 10003. 

• INDEPENDENT PRODUCER/DIRECTOR 
LOOKING FOR SCRIPTS: Short subject, doc. & 
dramatic for future projects. Humorous & humane 
p.o.v.'s desired. Marketability a plus. Send copy of 
treatment or script to MZ Productions, 235 E. 5th St. 
#1, New York, NY 10003. 

• WRITER WANTED FOR CHILDREN'S 
VIDEO PILOT: Experience necessary, art related. 
On spec and/or point system. Contact Julie at 
Machine Language; (212) 966-6162. 

• PRODUCER seeking screenplays. Send with 
SASE to M&M Pictures, 504 W. 24th St., Box 120, 
Austin, TX 78705. 



Publications 



• OVER VIEW OF ENDOWMENT PROGRAMS 

w/brief descriptions of 42 separate funding pro- 
grams, application deadlines, phone directory, etc. 
avail, free from NEH Overview, Rm. 409, NEH, 
1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 
20506; (202) 786-0438. 

MAY 1986 



• MODERN DANCE & BALLET ON FILM & 
VIDEO catalogue w/listings of more than 500 titles 
avail, from Dance Films Assn., Inc. $19.95 for 
nonmembers, $17.95 for DFA members, add $5 out- 
side US. Order from DFA, 241 E. 34th St., New 
York, NY 10016; (212) 686-7019. 

• THE INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS GUIDE 
TO SUPER 8 incl. information on equipment, film 
festivals & lab services in the US & Canada. Price: $5 . 
Avail, from Small Format Audio-Visual, 95 Harley 
St., Cambridge, MA 02140. 

• 1986 VIDEO EXHIBITION DIRECTOR Y pub- 
lished by Video Networks of the Bay Area Video 
Coalition. Lists over 50 nat'l exhibitors of indepen- 
dent work. Mailing labels also available. Price: $4 
plus postage & handling. Send check or money to 
BAVC, 1111 17th St., San Francisco, CA 94107; (415) 
861-3282. 

• CHICAGO NEWSLETTER: Monthly publica- 
tion of Chicago Area & Film Video Network. Avail, 
to members. Contact CAFVN, Box 10657, Chicago, 
IL 60610; (312) 661-1828. 

• AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS special issue of 
Views, published by the Independent Film & 
Videomakers Assn., Great Britain. Available for 
5.00 pounds sterling (please send money order or 
draft on a London office of US bank) to IFVA Na- 
tional Office, 79 Wardour St., London W1V 3PH; 
01-439-0460. 

• LOWBROW CINEMA: Brian Camp pays tribute 
to the stars of B-movies and exploitation pictures in a 
special double issue of Lowbrow Cinema, a 
periodical devoted to "the underbelly of film 
history." Avail, by mail for $3 from Lowbrow 
Cinema, Box 310, Bronx, NY 10473. 



SAG Contract 

continued from page 11 

actors to perform on weekends, holidays, 
and/or at night without payment of premium 
rates described in the Producer-SAG Codified 
Basic Agreement. Such work shali be at the same 
rates as are applicable on normal weekdays. 

16. Successors and Assigns. This Agreement 
shall be binding upon and shall inure to the 
benefit of the parties hereto, their respective suc- 
cessors and assigns. 

Your signature below will indicate your agree- 
ment to the provisions hereof. 



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• KUDOS to Edin Velez, whose videotape As Is: 
Video Essay on New York City won grand prize at 
the 1st International Video Week in Geneva, 
Switzerland. As Is will also premiere WNET-New 
York's "New Television" series. 

• CONGRATULATIONS to M.R. McCray, reci- 
pient of a Mini-Grant from the New York Council for 
the Humanities for the production of Dollie Robin- 
son: The Woman and Her Times, a 1 -hour videotape 
documentary. 

• KUDOS to AIVF member John Schindel, winner 
of the Technical Excellence in Film award from the 
10th Atlanta Film & Video Festival for his film 
Waffles. 

• SOUTHWEST ALTERNATIVE MEDIA PRO- 
JECT: The 1986 Southwest Film/Videotape Tour 
will wind up at the Dallas Public Library, Dallas TX 
on June 15. The tour features new works by indepen- 
dent video & filmmakers, and is available to non- 
profit organizations & institutions in TX w/ fees 
matched by the TX Commission on the Arts. 
SWAMP provides assistance in organization, pro- 
motion & logistical arrangements. Contact SWAMP, 
1519 W. Main, Houson, TX 77006; (713) 522-8582. 

• WRITER/INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER 
PRODUCING FEATURE DOCUMENTARY on 
international film festival circuit would like to hear 
from directors, organizers & filmmakers (esp. in- 
dependents & women) w/significant experiences at 
fests. Also seeking historical & contemporary info & 
materials such as posters, catalogs, promos, photos, 
clips & souvenirs. Write Bond, 3144 Q St., NW, 
Washington, DC 20007. 

MAY 1986 




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31 



/■ * 



SAVE THE DATE! 



THE 1986 AIVF INDIE AWARDS 



A CELEBRATION OF INDEPENDENT FILM AND VIDEO PRODUCTION 



.rk 



Linda Blackaby — Exhibitor 



Channel Four Television (Great Britain) — Broadcaster 

Shirley Clarke — Lifetime Achievement 

Film Arts Foundation — Media Arts Center 

William Greaves — Lifetime Achievement 

New York State Council on the Arts — 
Independent Media Funder 

Honorable Henry A. Waxman — Legislator 
AND EDWARD JAMES OLMOS 

Emmy Award-winning Lt. Martin Castillo on Miami Vice, will 
receive AIVF's Special Board of Directors Award for his work on 
behalf of American independent video and filmmakers. 



32 THE INDEPENDENT 



Wednesday Evening, 

May 21, 1986, at 7:00PM 

Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street 

New York, New York 

Reception with Cash Bar Following 

the Presentation Will Be Held 

Upstairs at the 

New York University Club. 



Ticket prices: $35 (member), $50 (non-member), $100 (benefactor) 
AIVF members will receive invitations in the mail. 
For more information, call AIVF, (212)473-3400. 



MAY 1986 



HE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT VIDEO 
AND FILMMAKERS MEANS: 

Comprehensive health, disability and equipment insurance at affordable rates 

The Festival Bureau: your inside track to international and domestic film and video festivals 

Advocacy: lobbying in Washington ami throughout the country to promote the interests of independent producers 

Access to funding, distribution, technical and programming information 

Professional seminars and screenings 

Discounts on publications, car rentals and production services 

AND 

A subscription to THE INDEPENDENT Film & Video Monthly, the only national film and video magazine tailored 

to your needs f 10 issues per year) 




There's strength in numbers. 



J 



oin AIVF Today, and Get a One-Year Subscription to 
THE INDEPENDENT Magazine. 

Enclosed is my check or money order for: 

□ $35/year individual 

□ (Add 810.00 for first-class mailing of 
THE INDEPENDENT.) 

□ $20/year student (enclose proof of student ID) 
D $50 year library (subscription only) 

□ $75/year organization 

D $45 year foreign (outside the US, Canada 
and Mexico) 



N< 






Address_ 



City. 



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Friday, May 16, 1986, 9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. 
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Creative Funding 

Can there be corporate and independent 
collaboration? This workshop will explore 
available funding sources for independent 
producers within the public and private 
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Does the home video explosion open new 
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New Technologies as Tools 
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What technological tools can be used by 
independent producers for budgeting, story- 
boarding and production? Are these 
technologies accessible and cost effective? 



Panelists will include 
representatives from public and 
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distribution houses, media 
centers, arts councils and private 
foundations, as well as 
independent producers. 

To include lunch, registration 
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MOVING? 
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It takes four to six 
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SPECIAL COMPUTER ISSUE 




Start on EASTMAN. 

Finish on EASTMAN. 

Film • Tape 




Eastman Kodak Company. Motion Picture and Audiovisual Products Division 

Atlanta: 404/351-6510 'Chicago: 312/654-5300 •Dallas: 214/351-3221 • Hollywood: 213/464-6131 • Honolulu: 808/833- 1661 • New York: 212/930-7500 

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© Eastman Kodak Company. 1986 




s 




3HL 



JUNE/JULY 1986 
VOLUME 9, NUMBER 5/6 



Publisher: 

Editor: 

Associate Editors: 

Contributing Editors: 



Interns: 
Art Director: 
Advertising: 

Distributor: 



Typesetting: 
Printer: 



Lawrence Sapadin 
Martha Gever 
Debra Goldman 
Renee Tajima 
Robert Aaronson 
Bob Brodsky 
Andrea Estepa 
Lucinda Furlong 
David Leitner 
Toni Treadway 
Patricia O'Neal 
Alice Wells 
Bethany Eden 
Jacobson 
Barbara Spence; 
Marionette, Inc. 
(718-773-9869) 
Bernhard DeBoer 
113 E. Center St.. 
Nutley NJ 07110 
Skeezo Typography 
PetCap Press 



The Independent is published ten times year- 
ly by the Foundation for Independent Video 
and Film, Inc. (FIVF), 625 Broadway, 9th Floor, 
New York, NY 10012, (212-473-3400), a not- 
for-profit, tax-exempt educational foundation 
dedicated to the promotion of video and 
film, and by the Association of Independent 
Video and Filmmakers, Inc. (AIVF), the na- 
tional trade association of independent pro- 
ducers and individuals involved in indepen- 
dent video and film. Subscription is included 
with membership in AIVF. Together, FIVF and 
AIVF provide a broad range of educational 
and professional services for independents 
and the general public. Publication of The 
Independent is made possible in part with 
public funds from the New York State Council 
on the Arts and the National Endowment for 
the Arts, a federal agency. 

The Independent welcomes unsolicited 
manuscripts. Manuscripts cannot be returned 
unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is 
included. No responsibility is assumed for loss 
or damage. 

Letters to The Independent should be ad- 
dressed to the editor. Letters may be edited 
for length. 

All contents are copyright of the Founda- 
tion for Independent Video and Film, Inc., ex- 
cept where otherwise noted. Reprints require 
written permission and acknowledgement of 
the article's previous appearance in The 
Independent. ISSN 0731-5198. 

©Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. 
1986 



AIVF/FIVF STAFF MEMBERS: Lawrence Sapadin, 
executive director; Robert Aaronson, festival direc- 
tor; Andrea Estepa, membership services; 
Charlayne Haynes, program director; Jeanne 
Cawley. administrative assistant; Sol Horwitz. Short 
Film Showcase project administrator; Debra 
Goldman, Short Film Showcase administrative 
assistant. 

AIVF/FIVF BOARDS OF DIRECTORS: Robert Richter. 
president; Christine Choy, vice president; Lillian 
Jimenez, chair; Brenda Webb, secretary; Joyce 
Bollnger, treasurer; St. Clair Bourne; Lonl Ding,' Pearl 
Bowser; Howard Petrick Robin Reidy; Lawrence 
Sapadin (ex officio); Barton Weiss. 



CONTENTS 

FEATURES 

$ Wired: Going Electronic 

by Renee Tajima 

16 A Macintosh Primer 

by David W. Leitner 

2 IN FOCUS 

Let's Get Digital 

by Mia Amato 

24 FESTIVALS 

As the World Turns: The Montreal World Film Festival 

by D.S. Moore 

London Calling: The London International Film Festival 

by Rob Edelman 

In Brief 

34 IN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION 

by Andrea Estepa 

36 CLASSIFIEDS 

37 NOTICES 



40 MEMORANDA 




COVER: Even the best minds can be rendered dizzy, digitized, and dumbfounded by the widen- 
ing array of choices in the microcomputer market. In his article, "A Macintosh Primer," David Leitner 
looks inside the Macintosh for hard facts on software for the independent producer. Graphic: 
David Leitner; software: Magic, by New Image Technology; printed by Apple's LaserWriter. 



JUNE/JULY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 1 



IjIN FOCUS 

LET'S GET DIGITAL 



Mia Amato 



The film's title is Computer Beach Party. Pro- 
ducer Gary Troy of Southwest Motion Pictures 
terms it a "high-tech teen romp" and much of its 
appeal derives from an original score that draws 
on heavy metal, jazz, reggae, doo-wop, and even 
show tunes. Although the budget for the Dallas- 
based film company's first feature was "well 
under a million dollars," the film's soundtrack 
was digitally mixed — demonstrating that digital 
sound technology is well within the reach of the 
independent producer. 

What is digital sound? Simply, it is audio 
magnetically stored as data, using the bits and 
bytes of computer language, rather than as mod- 
ulated frequencies (as on audio- or videotape or 
a film mag track). The biggest advantage of 
digital sound is its purity, its extremely high fidel- 
ity: audio recorded digitally sounds the same 
each time it is played back, and, when rerecord- 
ed in the digital mode, still sounds the same. 
Most filmmakers are familiar with the muddying 
of sound that occurs when audio is rerecorded 
on mag. In contrast, digital recording offers first 
generation quality through many layers of 
rerecording that occur in a typical sound mix. 
Another advantage of digital is that because the 
actual sound characteristics are broken down in- 
to data, it can be easily manipulated for audio 
special effects. For example, unwanted noise, 
such as sibilant hissing, can be excised elec- 
tronically if the recorded original sound is run 
through a simple digital noise reduction device 
known as a "de-esser." Digital sound editing 
also has earned a reputation for being a faster 
way to post audio — whether for a feature film or 
rock and roll record. 

Digital recording has been used to create rec- 
ord albums for about a decade; today's con- 
sumer audio compact disc (CD), commonly 
pressed from a digitally recorded master, pro- 
vides an example of the kind of audio quality 
eventually achievable in film soundtracks. The 
most commonly used digital format is Sony's 
PCM series, which offers a 24-track recorder 
(PCM-3324) and a two-track recorder (PCM- 
3302), plus analog/digital converters. Though 
bulky machines, they are transportable and can 
be used for location production. And they are 
not that expensive, according to Peter Scharf, 
whose New York company A/T Scharf rents 
PCM-3324s for about $900 a day. 

"If you're shooting a film with a great deal of 
attention to music performances, recording dig- 
2 THE INDEPENDENT 




"Home of the Brave," Laurie Anderson's concert feature, was both recorded and mixed digitally. 

Courtesy Cinecom International 



itally does not cost much more than recording in 
analog," he claims. "But what usually happens 
is that the people in charge of the music say, 
'Well, maybe if we're going digital, we should get 
the top of the line microphones,' and so on, so 
the rest of the location audio equipment tends to 
be upgraded as well." 

A number of systems were designed specifical- 
ly for mixing digital sound for films; these in- 
clude one-of-a-kind setups like those at Glen 
Glenn Sound in Los Angeles and SoundDroid, 
originally created by George Lucas's film com- 
pany to create the extraordinary audio special ef- 
fects of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Now 
marketed by the Droid Works, a coventure of 
Lucasfilm and Convergence Corporation, the 
system is available for sale along with EditDroid, 
its picture editing companion, but has been in- 
stalled in only a few U.S. postproduction houses 
that generally charge hourly rates beyond the 
reach of most independents. At this time, the 
most practical approach for an independent 
filmmaker interested in digital sound postpro- 
duction is to use a digitally equipped recording 
studio. 

The independently produced Talking Heads 
concert film Stop Making Sense is a perfect ex- 
ample of how digital postproduction can make 



the most of a musical film. This 1985 release was 
filmed in three days of stage performances, but 
recorded in 24-track analog through a mobile 
studio provided by the Los Angeles Record 
Plant. Then the soundtrack was transferred to 
digital and mixed digitally in Los Angeles at 
Ocean Way Recorders, Glen Glenn Sound, and 
Warner Hollywood, using equipment supplied 
by Digital Services, a Houston company. 

John Moran of Digital Services, who served as 
digital advisor to the producers and supervising 
engineer for the mix, said a Sony PCM-3324 was 
used to transfer the live analog recordings at 
Ocean Way. A Sony BVU-800 VCR played win- 
dow dubs with a visible time code of the rough 
cut while the sound was synchronized using a 
Q-Lock synchronizer and a PCM-1610 analog/ 
digital converter that served as the "master 
clock" to sync sound and picture. During these 
sessions, the band added more background 
vocals and some extra bass tracks. The digital 
recording equipment was then brought to Glen 
Glenn and Warner Hollywood for the final mix- 
ing, using those studios' sophisticated sound 
editing facilities. 

The sound postproduction on Computer 
Beach Party, as described by Dallas Sound Lab 
engineer Rusty Smith, provides a good overview 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



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of the mixing process available in recording 
studios. "The filmmakers originally came to us 
just to transfer their music and field audio to 
mag so they could cut it filmstyle," he says. "We 
said, how about transferring it to digital audio 
and doing a digital mix? And once we got start- 
ed, all they could say was, 'Wow, this is really 
fast!'" 

Dallas Sound Lab handles digital audio for 
both recording and TV clients, and typically of- 
fers a five-machine interlock edit for about $150 
an hour. Beach Party was the studio's first film. 
"Troy brought us a four-track analog master of 
the music, which had been recorded in a studio 
with timecode, and sync sound footage," Smith 
explains. "A lot of the action stuff had been shot 
MOS [mit out sound], but what sound had been 
recorded on location was pretty bad." 

About 80 percent of the dialogue had to be re- 
placed by the actors respeaking their parts in the 
studio. (Replacing dialogue to salvage location 
material is, of course, not limited to low-budget 
films; Richard Beggs, sound designer for Francis 
Ford Coppola's Cotton Club, estimates that at 
least 90 percent of that film's dialogue was dub- 
bed in during postproduction.) Smith edited to 
match lip movements on a 3 A " videocassette of 
the film footage, linking the video playback to 
the four digital audio tracks on a Sony PCM- 
3324 via btx Shadow synchronizers equipped 
with a Soft Touch Option. Ambient sound was 
added on another channel with an Akai digital 
sampler that supplies what Smith refers to as 
"room tones," and the sweetening also included 
digital sound effects. 

"We use the Sound Ideas sound effects li- 
brary, which is recorded on compact disc," Smith 
explains, "so all the effects are directly digital." 
In the final mix, eight tracks of the 24-track 
digital recorder were used, resulting in a sub- 
master four track: one track for dialogue, one 
for music and effects, and two master stereo 
tracks representing right and left speaker infor- 
mation. The left and right tracks were transfer- 
red to two stripes of a 35mm full coat mag; the 
third stripe carried a mono soundtrack made 
from the stereo mix. Smith said the film took 
nine days to mix, after about 15 days of dialogue 
looping. 

Computer Beach Party had its debut at the 
American Film Market festival in Los Angeles 
this spring and is being distributed by Pegasus 
Cinema Films, Inc. Because the producers could 
not afford Dolby stereo encoding, the film is be- 
ing released in mono — although the master tapes 
may be used in the future to provide stereo sound 
for a videocassette release and the separate 
dialogue track will allow the film to be easily 
dubbed into a foreign language for export. 
"Recording the master audio directly from 
digital onto mag means that even though the 
original audio may have been rough, it's really 
pretty clean now," Smith explains. "Doing the 
postproduction in the digital domain saved the 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



soundtrack from any generational loss that 
might have occurred if the editing had been done 
traditionally in mag." 

Home of the Brave, Laurie Anderson's 
recently released concert feature, was recorded 
digitally as well as mixed in the digital domain. 
Distributed by Cinecom, the film is woven 
around concert performances by Anderson, 
who relies heavily on electronic instruments like 
the Synclavier and digital drum synthesizers and 
uses prerecorded tracks on stage as musical 
backups. 

According to producer Paula Maser, "about 
one quarter" of the $1.65-million production 
budget went for audio. The film was shot in 
35mm Panavision and recorded on a Sony 
PCM-3324 24-track digital audio recorder. A 
"master sync" system was arranged to tie 
together the Panavision cameras, the audio 
recorders, and the live video projections during 
the performances. Two 24-track digital 
recorders were tied together during the audio 
postproduction at Sync Sound, New York. 
Leanne Ungar engineered the sound recording 
and sound mixing with Sync Sound's Ken Hahn. 

Sync Sound is a postproduction boutique 
known for its mixing and sweetening of video 
music programs. Mixing Home of the Brave on 
the house PCM-3324 and Solid State Logic 6000 
series console, the music was synched to a l A " 
videotape played back on a large screen video 
projector. The studio uses a modified Adams- 
Smith synchronizer and a battery of digital noise 
reduction and effects devices; for this film, a 
Synclavier was installed in the mixing room to 
enhance the audience sounds, in much the same 
way that sitcom laughtracks are routinely sweet- 
ened for television. 

The end result was a master mix in Dolby 
stereo for theatrical release. Regrettably, final 
release formats are always analog. It is not dif- 
ficult to transfer a digital soundtrack directly on- 
to 35mm stereo optical, as was done for Stop 
Making Sense, although Moran, the film's 
digital expert, finds it ironic that today's digital 
soundtracks eventually wind up on a sound 
recording medium developed decades ago. "It's 
still a 1930s technology," he admits. 

Why bother with digital sound at all? "The 
Talking Heads were interested in seeing what im- 
provements could be made upstream to get a bet- 
ter sound," Moran notes. To take fuller advan- 
tage of digital, Maser said Laurie Anderson is 
looking into the possibility of playing back a 
separate digital soundtrack in some theaters. "It 
will probably be some kind of interlock system 
where the projector is locked to a digital play- 
back recorder," she explains. "There really isn't 
an existing system to do that in theaters, but 
there's been some experimentation done." 

Mia Amato is senior editor of Millimeter 
Magazine in New York. 

© Mia Amato 1986 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



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MINUTES 

(Continued from page 40) 

board unanimously voted a resolution thanking 
Sutton for his work. He will be replaced by a full- 
time bookkeeper /office manager. 

With considerable assistance from Jaynne 
Keyes of the New York State Office of Motion 
Picture & Television Development, plans for the 
1986 Indie Awards are proceeding well. 

After more than a year of discussions with 
AIVF, the Screen Actors Guild issued a new low- 
budget independent producer contract for films 
and videotapes budgeted under $200,000. The 
contract was reprinted in full in the May In- 
dependent. The board thanked attorney Eugene 
Aleinikoff for his assistance. 

New Business 

The board approved a resolution protesting ef- 
forts by the United States to deport writer 
Margaret Randall in so far as they are due to 
"political restrictions on her artistic freedom." 

The board ratified AIVF's participation in a 
lawsuit against the U.S. Information Agency, 
protesting the denial of educational certification 
to several independently produced social issue 
documentaries, making it much more difficult 
for the producers to market their films outside 
the United States. 

Sapadin proposed the establishment of a 
Chapter committee of the board to begin devel- 
oping policy with respect to the formation of 
chapters. This matter was tabled pending the 
outcome of the membership referendum on 
amending the bylaws to permit chapters. 

The matter of the appointment of additional 
FIVF board members was tabled. The Develop- 
ment committee will continue to search for ap- 
propriate candidates and develop criteria and a 
job description for their services. 

While the board recognized that, once again, 
AIVF lacks the resources to publish a member- 
ship directory with complete information on 
credits, awards, etc., the sense of the board was 
to proceed with a simpler name/address/phone/ 
skills directory of AIVF s nearly 5,000 members 
as soon as feasible. 

Following the conducting of its business, the 
board went into executive session to deliberate 
over the selection of the 1986 Indie Awards. At 
the close of the executive session, the board an- 
nounced the following winners: 

Edward James Olmos, AIVF Board of Directors 

Award 
Linda Blackaby, Exhibitors Award 
Channel Four Television (Great Britain), Broad- 
caster Award 
Shirley Clarke, Lifetime Achievement Award 
Film Arts Foundation, Media Arts Center Award 
William Greaves, Lifetime Achievement Award 
New York State Council on the Arts, Indepen- 
dent Media Funder Award. 
Hon. Henry A. Waxman, Legislator 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



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Renee Tajima 



My personal attitude toward personal com- 
puters could best be summarized by a comment 
made by Linda Blackaby, who told me, "I'm not 
someone who gets enamored with technology, 
but computers today . . . you could actually un- 
derstand them." For Blackaby, the executive 
director of Philadelphia's Neighborhood Film 
Project, computerization proved relatively 
painless. Their major hurdle was money. The 
organization saved up and, by the end of the last 
fiscal year, they had enough in the bank to buy 
an IBM compatible AT&T microcomputer. 
After that, getting on-line was relatively quick 
and simple, mitigated by the staffs purchase of 
easy-to-learn software — WordPerfect (word- 
processing), Nutshell (database), and Lotus 
1 2 3 (integrated) — and some previous experi- 
ence with computers. 

But for other organizations and some pro- 
ducers, going electronic has been along, arduous 
process. It takes thought, resourcefulness, and 
planning to make the right purchase and then 
oversee a small revolution in the workplace or on 
the set. And, above all, it takes an emotional 
commitment to learning and using the technol- 
ogy. Filmmaker J.T. Takagi confesses, "Some- 
one in the office said it would make things easier, 
but I didn't believe it. I didn't want to use the 
computer at first. I had an anti-computer pre- 
judice because it seemed like a new language. It 
was a lot to learn, and by the time you learned it 
you could have done all the work by hand. But 
now I can't work without it." 

The problem of gearing up an electronic 
workplace is not a paucity of information. In 
fact, there seems to be an information overload 
in the area of computer expertise. Magazines, 
books, promotions, classes, and consultants all 
exist in abundant supply. Few producers or 



media art centers, however, have the time to 
wade through the literature and ads. The fine 
points of computer languages and integrated cir- 
cuitry are probably the last thing many of us care 
to understand. We want it friendly, fast, and 
cheap. 

One thing often missing in the marketplace, 
though, is specific information geared to the 
low-budget independent producer or the tight- 
budget arts organization. Our needs often fall 
somewhere between straight business applica- 
tions and the high-tech, high-cost computer 
systems used in the movie and television in- 
dustry. So, in researching this article, I followed 
the model of computer clubs, popularly known 
as user groups: I sought like-minded people in 
the field who were willing to share their ex- 
periences, knowledge, and mistakes. The infor- 
mation provided here will be most helpful to 
producers and organizations that want to com- 
puterize or have just initiated the process. I've 
used the case study method so that readers can 
identify the people or organizations doing simi- 
lar work, whether production, distribution, or 
exhibition. You might say it's a reader-friendly 
article. 

For more experienced hands, I hope that — 
after seeing the wheel reinvented and retreaded 
time and time again — more resource-sharing can 
be encouraged among computer users. 

SHOPPING AROUND 

Unfortunately, no one has a computer to 
organize their preliminary research, to figure out 
what to buy, where to buy it, or to process the 
volumes of information available today. Buying 
a computer actually means buying a system that 
consists of various components: hardware, soft- 
ware, peripherals like printer, screen, and 
modem, various supplies, and even furni- 
ture — all of which can be acquired separately. 



8 THE INDEPENDENT 



"Most people look for the hardware first," 
reports Beva Eastman, who heads the Seeger 
Microcomputer Center in New York City, a non- 
profit resource service for artists and other non- 
profit organizations. "Instead, you should do it 
in reverse: figure out what software meets your 
needs and then buy the machine." 

There are three basic types of software: word- 
processing for writing and editing, spreadsheets 
and statistical programs for analyzing data such 
as balance sheets, and database programs for 
organizing information in the same way index 
cards, files, post em's, or bookkeeping ledgers 
are used in a paper office. Integrated programs 
like Appleworks, Symphony, and Lotus 1 2 3 
incorporate all three — word-processing, spread- 
sheets, and database management. 

In her own consultations, Eastman poses a 
number of questions to consider when choosing 
software: 

1. Mailing Lists: How many names? How 
complicated is the sorting? How much informa- 
tion do you need on each list? Do you code the 
lists? How is it categorized, e.g., by zip code? 
How do you want to use it? Do you want both 
upper and lower case characters? Do you send 
out form letters? A simple, short mailing list can 
be organized using a word-processing program 
formatted like an Avery mailing label sheet, or a 
more complex, lengthy list may require a data- 
processing program with cross-indexing by zip 
code, target group category, separating press lists 
from others, etc. 

2. Word-processing: Do you generate letters, 
grant proposals, reports? Do you create newslet- 
ters with graphics that would affect your choice 
of printers? Can your budget sheets fit on an 
8 Vi- by 1 1 '/2-inch printer, or do they have to go 
sideways? Will graphs make a big difference? 

3. Budget: Who handles it? It is worthwhile to 
computerize or faster by hand? Can you get by 
witlra simple database program that allows you 
to create an entire format, or will you need a 
spreadsheet program set up like a bookkeeping 
ledger? 

4. Purpose: What does the organization do? 
Do you want to train people on special film pro- 
duction software? What are the special functions 
of the organization outside of all administrative 
needs? These special functions are where the 
most creative computer uses are developed. 

Eastman underscores the importance of get- 
ting informed, unbiased assistance in the 
research process. "It's agony if you're given the 
wrong kind of advice. Get good accurate infor- 
mation. Don 't ask dealers in a store. They're out 
to sell." She suggests consulting user groups or 
users with the same computer and software. 
"For example," she explains, "I want to do 
mailing labels. Later I decide that I want to 
merge mailing labels with my word-processor [a 
method of combining a list of addresses with a 
single document or letter], so I could generate 
personalized fundraising letters. Did I buy soft- 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



ware that does merging in the first place? Or will 
I have to input everything all over again?" 
According to Eastman, a capable consultant will 
explain what is possible in relation to your needs, 
and what might suit your specific intended uses. 
She emphasizes that, although the ideal consul- 
tant will give you a range of options, "You have 
to make the final decision." 

There are a number of different types of con- 
sultants to look for — and watch out for. Like 
Seeger, most people warn prospective buyers of 
the dangers of computer store personnel. Says 
one producer, "As a filmmaker, you'll be going 
into a computer store looking for pretty esoteric 
information. Most salespeople don't know that 
much. They always try to sell you more, rather 
than sell you what you need for the least amount 
of money." 

A related species of consultant is what Jeffrey 
Angus termed in Popular Computing ("Com- 
parison Shopping for a Computer Consultant," 
May 1984) the vendor-consultant, who deals in 
particular products. They may know a system 
well, give you a good deal on the consulting fee, 
and offer the benefits of their connections to 
distributors, but these vendor-consultants are 
not likely to be objective. 

Accounting firms and management consul- 
tants are also getting into the computer game, 
but their prices are likely to be prohibitive unless 
you can solicit pro bono advice as an artist or a 
nonprofit corporation. There are also a number 
of independent computer consultants, who 
range in price, quality, and expertise, as with 
anyone selling services within that ill-defined 
category of "consultant." Independents are like- 
ly to be far more objective than vendor-consul- 
tants. A number of people I interviewed were 
fortunate and got free consulting from a friend 
or relative in the profession. Should you find 
yourself without such contacts, resource centers 
or management consultant firms may be able to 
provide a referral. Choose a consultant with the 
same care with which you will ultimately choose 
your computer: someone who fits your specific 
needs at a price you can afford. 

Another common type of advisor is what I call 
an alternative consultant, whose services may be 
the most practical for artists and nonprofits. 
Some groups have secured low-cost services 
from faculty at a local college or agreed to per- 
form as guinea pigs for a graduate research pro- 
ject. Also, there are a growing number of con- 
sultants who specialize in the arts, or work as ar- 
tists and administrators themselves, usually 
located through colleagues and friends. Then 
there are user groups — something like a collec- 
tive of consultants — composed of people who 
own the same computer and get together to share 
information and resources. 

Nonprofit resource centers like Seeger have 
also taken root, including the New Technology 
Resource Center at Chicago's Museum of 
Science and Industry; the Portland, Oregon, 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



Community Computer Center, set up by Apple 
Computer to train nonprofits in the local area; 
and the Public Interest Computer Association in 
Washington, D.C. 

The New York-based information clearing- 
house Media Network, which purchased a com- 
puter in 1984, spent almost six months in 
preliminary research. Former executive director 
Marc Weiss devoted that period to reading 
books and "talking to a whole slew of nonprofit 
computer consultants, getting referred from one 
to another until I found people who could tell me 
what I had to know. The books gave me the 
basics, and the consultants answered specific 
questions." Weiss recommends How to Buy 
Software, by Alfred Glossbrenner, an informal, 
well-written text that demystifies computers and 
gives an overview of how they operate. The 
books of choice at the offices I share with Third 
World Newsreel are The Wordprocessing Book, 
by Peter A. McWilliams, and The Whole Earth 
Software Catalog, edited by Stewart Brand. In 
researching this article, I read two reader- 
friendly and informative volumes published in 
the Association of Computer Users' Computer 
Fitness Series: How to Select Your Small Com- 
puter. . . Without Frustration and How to Man- 
age Your Small Computer, likewise, Without 
Frustration. Both were written by Hillel Segal 
and Jesse Berst. Of course, there is no scarcity of 
computer magazines on the market, and many 
video- and film-related publications run articles 
on computers. Some of these are On Location, 
In Motion, SMPTE Journal, Videography, Mil- 
limeter, and ETV. 

For only $15 per year membership fee, the 
New York PC Users Group provides indispen- 
sable resources for Weiss. He joined its special 
interest group that concentrates on database 
management. Information on user groups is 
often available from local dealers, through 



listings in computer magazines and electronic 
bulletin boards, or from computer consultants. 
Inevitably, user groups of independent media 
producers and administrators will emerge. For 
example, New York computer users can join 
CIAO-Manhattan (Computers in Arts Organi- 
zations) or the Macintosh music and film/ video 
user group, NYMUG. 

THE BUY 

Purchasing a computer is a bit like looking for 
the best price, service, and warranty for any 
other major piece of equipment. Both the Neigh- 
borhood Film Project in Philadelphia and the 
Helena Film Society /Second Story Cinema in 
Helena, Montana, bought their computer equip- 
ment at local Computerland franchises. Media 
Network found its IBM PC at a community-ori- 
ented computer store at a terrific price, but with 
the stipulation that they not disclose details of 
the deal. Filmmaker Steve Ning cashed in on his 
AT&T Calling Card bonus credits to get a $500 
discount on an AT&T PC6300. All of your pre- 
vious research can be summarized in a bid or re- 
quest for proposals outlining your requirements 
for various bidders. Eastman recommends a 
group purchase, if possible, to get the best dis- 
count. She cites mail order houses, advertised in 
computer magazines and catalogues, as offering 
the best prices for peripherals, including soft- 
ware, printers, modems, and supplies. 

A number of lucky nonprofits have received 
free computers through Apple Computer Com- 
munity Affairs grant program, to facilitate the 
formation of communication networks between 
nonprofit organizations. The grantees received 
equipment and software, training at Apple's 
Cuppertino, California, headquarters, con- 
sulting, and even a regular publication called 
Warm Boot News. Those recipients include New 



B 



eva Eastman underscores the importance 
of getting informed, unbiased assistance in the 
research process. "It's agony if you're given the 
wrong kind of advice. Get good, accurate infor- 
mation. Don't ask dealers in a store. They're 
out to sell." 



THE INDEPENDENT 



York City's Women Make Movies, who formed 
a network with the Women's Studio Workshop 
in Rosendale, New York, the Women's Building 
in Los Angeles, and the Austin, Texas-based 
Women and Their Work. Likewise, three Asian 
American media organizations are now hooked 
up: San Francisco's National Asian American 
Telecommunications Association, Visual Com- 
munications of Los Angeles, and Asian Cine Vi- 
sion in New York City. 

More recently, Apple has been funneling its 
grants through larger agencies, which then 
redirect the computers to nonprofits. Several 
media-related Advancement grantees were given 
free Apples via the National Endowment for the 
Arts. 

YEAR ZERO 

When the machinery is installed, the real work 
begins. The adjustment from manual to 
computerized work, paper to electronic office, 
can be low-key or high drama. Eastman 
estimates that it takes about 18 months for an 
organization to computerize. "Just entering the 
data takes time," she notes. Imagine transferring 
your personal mailing list or 100-page working 
script to computer files. Some computer owners 
have to hire extra staff during the adjustment 
period. Eastman also points out, "An organiza- 
tion must understand that there has to be one 
computer person willing to take it on. You never 
know who that person is going to be. It doesn't 
have to be a real high-tech person, but someone 
resourceful." I call this individual the computer 
freak: the one person who just can't wait to plug 
it in, reads all the magazines, discovers a whole 
new circle of friends, and watches for stray cups 
of coffee near the printer. The computer freak 
may have no previous computer experience. She 
or he may be a producer or an intern. Power re- 



lationships change. I have noticed that indepen- 
dents who buy computers are often self-selected 
computer freaks. 

At this point, your prior decisions on software 
and consultants will begin to affect the process. 
The Neighborhood Film Project got on-line 
quickly because their word-processing program, 
WordPerfect, is relatively easy to learn and use. I 
use the the same at AIVF, as well as Leading 
Edge, a slow, but "dummy-friendly" (beyond 
user-friendly) program for IBM compatible 
pc's. For news and advice on word-processing, 
get hold of "The Computer Maven" column in 
the American Writer, the newsletter of the 
Writers Union — it's a wonderful resource on 
word-processing software. 

All of your resources, consultants, informa- 
tion centers, and user groups can help smooth 
the transition, ironing out the bugs and shaping 
the software to fit your specific needs. While 
there are a number of specialized software pro- 
grams for film and television, like Quantum 
Films' DataMogul, the cost may be prohibitive. 
Many people format existing programs to fit 
specialized functions. For example, Third World 
Newsreel filmmakers J.T. Takagi and Allan 
Siegel spent half a day adapting the Nutshell 
database program for film/video budgets by set- 
ting up each category with relevant formulations 
and definitions. For example, if the price per 
foot of developing Kodak 7291 changes from 
.095 cents to .0983 cents, all totals in the budget 
will be refigured automatically. 

In contrast, a specialized software package 
would have cost thousands of dollars. Shi Sun, a 
production accountant with Show Films in Los 
Angeles, maker of Androids, uses a program 
written for the Apple 11+ that was custom 
tailored by Jack Smith of the software company 
Dot Zero. The cost: $2,250 for nine months of 
use plus an additional fee for extended use. But 



E 



astman points out, "An organization 
must understand that there has to be one com- 
puter person willing to take it on. You never 
know who that person is going to be. It doesn't 
have to be a real high-tech person, but some- 
one resourceful." . . . The computer freak may 
have no previous computer experience. She or 
he may be a producer or an intern. Power rela- 
tionships change. 



lO THE INDEPENDENT 



Third World Newsreel deals with primarily non- 
union documentary budgets between $10,000 
and $250,000. Sun points out that, in contrast, 
Show Films productions cost around $2.5-million 
and require a relatively complex accounting 
system organized by specific categories, such as 
gas for production assistants or lightbulbs for 
the gaffers department. 

The ways to put computers in action are as di- 
verse as the types of computers, software, and 
specialized needs. Independent media artists and 
organizations have created low-cost alternatives 
with computers in the same way they have devel- 
oped new alternative uses for video and film 
technology. Many adapt basic personal and 
business software for microcomputers, custom- 
ized to meet their needs. As Beva Eastman com- 
ments, these innovative applications of the 
technology are the most exciting. 



CASE STUDIES 

Center for New Television, Chicago, Illinois 
Administration 

CNTV has had an Apple lie ever since Eric 
Thurman, head of the Producers Initiative pro- 
ject, talked the executive director and chair into 
investing funds earmarked to pay a secretary in 
hardware. He found a low-priced, rebuilt Apple 
and the organization has been saving money ever 
since. The first item of business for the new old 
computer was organizing CNTV's mailing list, 
followed by word-processing, including 
membership renewal letters and proposal writ- 
ing. According to CNTV executive director 
Joyce Bollinger, the demand for time on the Ap- 
ple became so great that they bought the newer, 
more sophisticated Macintosh in 1984. All 
membership records and workshop registrations 
were then transferred to the new computer. Bol- 
linger now uses it for fundraising proposals and 
correspondence, the bimonthly payroll, and 
checks, which are automatically posted to the 
appropriate accounts. CNTV borrows a modem 
from another Chicago-based arts organization 
to transmit newsletter copy, typed into the 
Macintosh, to the typesetter, saving approx- 
imately 20 percent of the typesetting costs. 

As one of the NEA Advancement grantees, 
CNTV subsequently received a free Apple He 
(ironically, the Advancement grantees, rewarded 
for their administrative skill and institutional 
potential, are the most likely to own computers). 
They plan to put the new Apple in service as a 
production tool, making edit lists in preparation 
for computer fine edits, for example. Bollinger is 
reluctant to interface the computer with the 
organization's video editing systems, "because it 
takes too much effort to readjust it for business 
purposes — moving it around, and so on." How- 
ever, artist members who want to use a com- 
puter can rent the Sony Genlocker computer 
graphics system at CNTV. 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



Media Network, New York, New York 
Information clearinghouse 

Media Network hoped to computerize its opera- 
tions ever since the organization was founded six 
years ago. The original plan entailed establishing 
a database, but the hardware proved too expen- 
sive, and the necessary software would have re- 
quired special programming. Within a few years, 
the computer marketplace changed dramatical- 
ly, and in 1984 Media Network purchased an 
IBM PC. 

The computer has proven to be a tremendous 
timesaver for maintaining a list of approximately 
3,000 social issue films, videotapes, and slide 
shows, as well as additional lists of distributors, 
organizations, and the like. Previously, informa- 
tion for any single title was recorded on a title 
card filed by alphabetical order and cross- 
indexed in another file organized by subjects 
such as war/peace issues, civil rights, and 
gay/lesbian issues. Separate files were kept for 
distributors and media libraries that carried these 
titles. Any single change in the information 
created a paperwork nightmare. For example, 
when Unifilm went out of business, the dis- 
tribution information on each of dozens of films 
in each cross-indexed file had to be rewritten. 

At Media Network, a customized DBase III 
program performs functions that would be near 
impossible if done manually. Here are a few ex- 
amples of database management systems that 
they have developed: 

1. Record all information about a film or 
videotape, including title, producers, cast, crew, 
date produced, running time, country of origin, 
rental information, awards, format, subject 
categories, distributor(s), and a synopsis of up to 
two pages. 

2. Enter up to 20 different subject categories, 
such as civil rights or labor history, and 
automatically cross-reference the film/videotape 
under all categories. 

3. Cross-reference any number of distributors 
and rental/sale prices, including public libraries 
or archives that own a particular title. 

4. Automatically search through an entire list 
for a specific title, or for all titles that satisfy any 
combination of subject criteria, such as health 
care for women in Africa, or health care for 
women in Africa with a running time of 20 to 40 
minutes in length, or health care for women in 
Africa, 20 to 40 minutes in length and released 
since 1975. 

5. Search titles by one word in the title. 

6. Display information on screen or print out. 

7. Keep track of people who use Media Net- 
work information services and process statistics 
on the number of times a film or videotape is re- 
quested or recommended, as well as providing a 
demographic breakdown of users. 

This database program had a long and com- 
plicated genesis. The DBase III program was 
given to Media Network by the software manu- 
facturer Ashton-Tate in response to a letter re- 

JUNE/JULY 1986 




A Savannah College of Art and Design student used one of the school's 25 Amiga computers to 
produce this graphic drawing. 

Courtesy Inside Savannah 



questing the donation. A friend of a friend of 
Weiss agreed to customize the program in ex- 
change for video production services. But the 
consultant worked on the program so infre- 
quently that Weiss finally decided to write it 
himself. He learned the DBase III program 
language and, with the help of Stuart Ozer of the 
North American Congress on Latin America, 
completed the work in about six months. Was 
the 20 hours per week overtime worth it? Says 
Weiss, "I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else, 
but for me, yes. I really enjoyed the learning pro- 
cess, and, as a result, I was able to set up all other 
programs without paying someone." 

The newly customized program was first input 
on a 10-megabyte hard disk, which cost over 
$1,000. But the data proved too extensive to be 
accommodated on that disk and last year Media 
Network had to purchase a 20-megabyte hard 
disk, at about half the price of the 10-megabyte 
version. "You buy something in the computer 
market and six months later the problem you 
faced may be solved," Weiss observes. "But it's 
not wise to wait around for a purchase, because 
new products are always announced and then 
take a long time to get on the market. If you 
wait, you're not doing your work." 

Media Network also has adopted the Word- 
star word-processing program; budgets and ac- 
counts are done with the Supercalc spreadsheet 
program; and Xtree keeps track of the 600-plus 
files stored on the hard disk. 

Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, 

Georgia 

Training 

One and a half years ago Murray Wilson, chair 
of SCAD's video department, was casting about 
for a "slightly unconventional" method for 
teaching animation for less than $100,000. So he 



collaborated with BCD Associates of Oklahoma 
City and General Electronics Systems, Inc., in 
San Francisco to develop an interface between a 
Sony SMC70G microcomputer and a l A " video 
recorder to capture frame-accurate images. They 
developed a code written on the videotape's 
audio track that locates the image for the com- 
puter, integrated with software that makes it 
possible to generate an image on the screen. The 
system can shoot single or multiple frames and 
produce claymation, time exposures, and 
animate computer-based images. It also stores 
images on tape. The average computer disk 
holds only about 20 full color pictures, while a 
videotape can store 36,000 frames. 

Students in the video department also use the 
Sony pc for titling, graphics, driving chyron, log- 
ging, and list management for editing, budget- 
ing, and scriptwriting. According to Murray, 
"The Sony microcomputer is neat for video pro- 
duction because it is genlockable and, in fact, is 
made by Sony video systems. It has little external 
software, but, then, you don't really need it." 

Last year the video department got a windfall 
when SCAD bought the first 19 Amigas made 
available in the U.S. by its manufacturer Com- 
modore. Now they own 25. Although the long- 
awaited Amiga has been criticized because of the 
scarcity of compatible software, Murray was 
reluctant to downplay the advantages of the 
equipment. "It's an interesting computer be- 
cause it's user-friendly," says Murray. "The 
Amiga is icon-based, so rather than typing in 
'help,' you just point the mouse to a picture of 
a little guy, or to a typewriter, if you want to 
write. The artist doesn't have to work out \\ hat 
an 'A prompt' is." 

Every student in the department has a com- 
puter in each of his or her classes, where they 
learn word-processing, database management, 
business applications for artists, basic office 

THE INDEPENDENT 11 



WHO RENTS OUR FILMS/TAPES? 
RENTALS 1985 




■ 4Q'< 

SCHOOLS 

^ 22* 

COMMUNITY GROUP 

M 13* 

FILMS SOCIETIES 

E3 8* 

INSTITUTIONS 

rrn 7* 

LIBRARIES 

FESTIVALS 
VZ\ 4* 

CINEMAS 
□ 1* 
TELEUISION 



ORDERS TAKEN PER MONTH 



ui 

Q- 




I 



■■■■p. 



M 



■ 1983 
□ 1985 



J J A 
MONTH 
E3 1984 



u 



These graphic analyses of Women Make Movies' distribution patterns and anticipated revenue 
would have been Impractical to generate without the organization's Apple Computer, and the 
easy-to-use software Appleworks and Graphics Magician. 

Courtesy Women Moke Movies 



management, film preparation, or write and 
reproduce resumes. Because of the Amiga's 
user-friendliness, it is taught as an introduction 
to computers in general. Murray and students 
from the video department have already produc- 
ed a tape with the Amiga and Sony systems, en- 
titled Renaissance II, incorporating the Amiga's 
graphic capabilities. It can be used to animate, 
manipulate, rotate, or change the size and posi- 
tion of images; to draw an image or "paint," all 
achieved with the mouse control. Murray is now 
trying to develop the Amiga as the host pc for an 
animation system, utilizing the Amiga's 4,096 col- 
ors versus only 16 colors available on a Sony pc. 

Women Make Movies, New York, New York 
Distribution 

Women Make Movies was given an Apple He 
two years ago through an Apple Computers net- 
work grant, and subsequently built their net- 
work with Women's Studio Workshop, the 

12 THE INDEPENDENT 



Women's Building, and Women and Their 
Work. WMM executive director Debra Zimmer- 
man remembers, "The first year that you get a 
computer is such an adjustment that you can't 
even imagine a network." The women's network 
met with difficulty in raising additional funds for 
the projected massive database, and the groups 
are now rethinking a scaled-down version, such 
as a mailing list exchange or a database of artists 
that work with each of the four organizations. 
WMM had more fruitful experiences when 
they computerized their office, and are now us- 
ing their computer for most administrative tasks. 

1. Booking, scheduling, and accounts man- 
agement for film/ video rental and sales. 

2. Statistical analyses to chart sales and 
marketing patterns. 

3. Most of the organization's mailing lists, 
although a hard disk is needed for additional 
storage. 

The WMM accounting books were also enter- 
ed on the computer, using the Visicomp spread- 



sheet program, but later removed. The program 
could not print the large spreadsheet sideways, 
so huge sheets of paper had to be pasted 
together. (WMM has since bought the Sideways 
program to allow printing of any number of col- 
umns on continuous feed paper.) Furthermore, 
the organization's bookkeeper is not computer- 
friendly; she prefers an incompatible accounting 
system, so WMM reinstated accounting by 
hand. Zimmerman warns, "Figure the system 
out before you bother to input everything. Find 
out how to use the program, what kind of infor- 
mation you want to get, and ask yourself if 
you're putting in too much information. Other- 
wise, you'll spend a lot of time inputting data on 
the wrong program, and you may have to do it 
over." 

WMM also uses Personal Filing System, 
Graphics Magician, and Appleworks, an in- 
tegrated program that is equivalent to the IBM- 
compatible Lotus 12 3. Although Appleworks 
is easy to use, Zimmerman finds it requires a 
goodly portion of the Apple's memory, leaving 
only 55k leftover bytes, making it necessary to 
buy a hard disk for more storage. 

Zimmerman is a self-described computer 
freak. She gets support from Beva Eastman at 
Seeger, a subcommittee of WMM board mem- 
bers who are Apple owners, an Apple user group 
for software exchange, and reads the Apple 
magazines A + , Insider, and Warm Boot News, 
as well as Popular Computing. 



Olympia Media Exchange, Olympia, Washington 
Communications 

Jeffrey Bartone and Peter Moulton comprise the 
Olympia Media Exchange, a three-year-old um- 
brella organization that sponsors everything 
from new music/environmental audio perform- 
mances to a student video art exchange and, with 
the Olympia Film Society, the Olympia Film 
Festival. OME is also hooked up to a far-flung 
world of computer users through an old Apple 
II + on long-term loan to the organization. "It's 
the modem that has revolutionized communica- 
tions for us," states Moulton. OME is active 
with a number of bulletin boards and computer 
conferences that allow for interactive discussion 
on particular issues. Using the standard Net- 
master telecommunications program for Apple 
II's OME hooks into: 

1 . National Federation of Local Cable Pro- 
grammers bulletin board, listing tape exchanges, 
access centers, and computers. For example, 
Moulton was able to find an advertisement for 
the EZ Schedule, a program log list for local 
cable access channels. 

2. EcoNet, organized by the International 
Ecology Network and set up with an Apple 
Computers grant. EcoNet is used for conferenc- 
ing, bulletin board, and file storage. It only re- 
quires a pc, a modem, a conventional telephone 
line, and a standard telecommunications pro- 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



gram that is easily available from any supplier. 
Subscribers only have to pay a $ 15 per month fee 
and the cost of the local call to get on-line. It's 
also possible to download public domain soft- 
ware from bulletin boards. Other than network- 
ing, OME uses the Apple 11+ for word- 
processing and graphics. 

For the group's newsletter, Moulton borrows 
a Macintosh to produce headlines and some 
graphics, types out the text on the Apple II + , 
which can be formatted with different margin 
widths and blank blocks of space for graphics or 
pictures. Moulton then lays out text and graphics 
by hand. But he explains, "It's now possible to 
do everything including photos on the computer 
with a wide variety of video capture systems. The 
IBM XT and new Apples are especially good at 
that. The systems work by capturing a single 
frame on a video camera and manipulating it to 
'paste it in' the appropriate place." 

Moulton is eager to share information with 
other artists and nonprofits; he's willing to talk 
by voice or mail — or electronically. 



Neighborhood Film Project, Philadelphia, 

Pennsylvania 

Exhibition and programming 

NFP, organizer of a year-round schedule of film 
and video screenings at the University of Penn- 
sylvania's International House, has an AT&T 
microcomputer to refine their operations. Pro- 
gram notes, copy for exhibition calendars, fund- 
raising letters, proposals, correspondence are 
now written with the help of WordPerfect soft- 
ware. Database management, however, is still in 
process. NFP started out with Nutshell, a data- 
base program for members and mailing lists, but 
is now moving to the stronger DBase III, the 
same as Media Network uses. Executive director 
Linda Blackaby is also working on formatting a 
"film notepad" to keep records of the hundreds 
of films and videos she sees every year. For ex- 
ample, upon hearing about a particular film, she 
might enter the title; after screening it, she could 
add information about the director, date pro- 
duced, and a critique; closer to booking it for a 
screening, she might add distribution and 
schedule information, followed by audience 
statistics. NFP will also enlist DBase III for 
targeted mailings to direct specialized promo- 
tions; for example, publicity for a series of films 
on disarmament might be sent directly to anti- 
nuke groups and churches. 

Blackaby's favorite software, though, is the 
integrated program Lotus 1 2 3. "It's an elegant, 
elegant program," says Blackaby. NFP uses 
Lotus for monthly attendance statistics and 
printing out graphs that can be an impressive ad- 
dendum to grant proposals. Project budgets are 
simplified by using formulas that allow an entire 
budget to be automatically refigured with any 
single change. For troubleshooting, NFP par- 
ticipates in an informal user group at Interna- 



tional House that includes the development of- 
fice and the Folk Arts Center, both owners of 
AT&Ts. Blackaby explains, "If you have pro- 
grams that are logical and you know what you 
want to do — and you have someone who can an- 
swer stupid questions — the computer is easy." 

Charles Sessoms, Washington, D. C. 
Independent producer 

Charles Sessoms employs his Apple He like a 
private secretary, with the help of Appleworks, 
the integrated database, word-processor, spread- 
sheet program, and Pinpoint software that 
enhances Appleworks. With this system, he is 
able to rely on his computer for: 

1 . A database of vendors by geographic loca- 
tion, which comes in handy any time he has to 
shoot something quickly on location. 



2. Official Airline Guide (OAG) that gives all 
flights and prices for travel reference or quick 
budget data. 

3. The CompuServe network, available 24 
hours a day at $12 per hour during the daytime, 
$5 per hour after 5 p.m. The cost of a local phone 
call hooks Sessoms into location information all 
over the country for weather, airline bookings, 
hotel availability, suggestions on places to feed 
the crew, and more. 

4. A daily calendar on the Pinpoint program; 
the computer even beeps to remind Sessoms that 
he has something planned. 

5. Thinktank, an idea processor that turns a 
stream of consciousness text into an outline 
organized into subheadings — something akin to 
electronic index cards. Sessoms bought a 
typewriter 'with a computer interface, giving him 
the option of filing documents or not. 



PAGE «6 








y^SUMBE ELECTRICAL CLASS 








/ MCU of teacher !< zoom-out for 


view < 


f c 1 


a s s r o o m 


/ close— up of student s— pans to 


teacher 






/ student explaining diagram tc 


other 


s t u d 


ents 


CU of teacher and zoom-out fi 


r full 


view 


f c 1 a s s r o o rri 


SUMBE CONSTRUCTION SITE 








\ woman w i t h s h o ve 1 ,-> — — . 
\ making bricks 








\ laying bricks with the super v 


i s o r / i r 


s t r u 


:tor making comments 


V/SUMBE~~AUTO SHOP — -— _^^ 


/^p u 1 1 i n g engine togetherN. 








1 jacking up jeep (with w on/a n ) 








^^eus_ta b.lishing s h o t o ■fwj>i < 'k are 


a 






SUMBE CULTURAL COMPETITION 








Women dancing 








Men chant and jump 








song— call a n d r e s p o n s e 








EDUCATION 








HAGE (CJCJ 0095-0147) 






Whole life of the Namibian 
people- including 
educational life- * is 
permeated by the apartheid 
system, which denies people 
a good education. Therefore 
when the UN assumed 
r e sponsibil i t y o ve r Namibia 
in 1966 it created some 
kind of training 
institution to prepare 
Namibians for future 








r e s p o n s i 


b i 1 i t i e s 










is no university in 










today. In terms of 


H 








g e d u c a t i o n at a 










level the Inst. 


Bl<U&Si A, 4 ^^^^^^! 








a good 








« 


T.JITENDERO (CCCC 
3/1749-1763) Having 






■ 'X 


: 


oppressed by an 
r just next door to 
ch has completely 

the Namibian people 


1 IPw 1 #v 




U 




n , i.- ducat i or. a 1 

i t i e s , 

tt-ly, for that 






^k 


Educat i on i ^ 




f l 






education not in 








row sense, but in 










id sense- knowledge 










ompetences . . . 



Postreduction of Third World Newsreel's film "Namibia: Independence Now!" was 
sfreamlined by using a customized Nutshell database program that provided scene-by- 
scene picture and dialogue Information with edge code numbers. 



JUNE/JULY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



13 



Third World Newsreel, New York, New York 
Production, distribution, and administration 

My own experience with computers has been ac- 
quired at Third World Newsreel, where I share a 
production office. TWN is a multipurpose 
media center, and, without benefit of a hard 
disk, has computerized almost all of its pro- 
grams, including film production, distribution, 
film workshop management, publications, bud- 
geting, and administration. Almost every func- 
tion now depends on the computer, largely due 
to the computer fever that hit the staff and 
assorted filmmakers associated with the 
organization. The process has b&n decidedly 
low-budget, and even the initial purchase was 
considered a risky one by half of the staff. To 
ease the financial strain, a Leading Edge IBM 
compatible computer was bought with a board 
member's Visa card, paid back in monthly in- 
stallments of $56. Only basic software was pur- 
chased, then adapted for specific needs: Leading 
Edge word-processing, Nutshell database 
management, and a Multiplan spreadsheet pro- 
gram. This software was customized to perform 
a number of functions: 

1. For distribution, each operation — book- 
ing, scheduling, invoicing — was computerized 
similarly to the system devised at Women Make 
Movies, using Nutshell. 

2. The paperwork for production and project 
management is now stored on the computer. 
Leading Edge word-processing keeps track of all 
correspondence, records production supply in- 
ventories and orders, and enables myriad con- 
tracts and agreements to be revised. 

3. Project and admininistrative budgets can 
be updated daily and graphically analyzed using 
Nutshell. Double entry account ledgers are 
organized and maintained with the Multiplan 
program. 

4. To streamline film and video editing, Nut- 
shell is used to log all sync footage so that 
selected takes can be broken down according to 
edge code numbers, subject matter, scenes, 
characters, and other criteria. For example, 
while editing Namibia: Independence Now! 
Allan Siegel formatted the database with various 
fields for each scene ( a field is one category of in- 
formation in a larger item, such as the street ad- 
dress on a mailing list entry). One field was for 
edge code number, the next field for the name, 
others for subject matter, length of scene, and 
dialogue transcription. If you want to retrieve 
every interview on education, each interviewee 
who talked about that subject will be printed 
out. The same can be done for the log of wild 
sound by setting up a field for all sound effects 
so, for instance, an editor can quickly access cer- 
tain music recorded on location. In addition, 
whole blocks of scenes can be moved around in 
the computer for a paper edit. "It meant I was 
able to take things home with me to study," ex- 
plains Siegel. "I organized all the print-outs into 



a book that I carried around. I didn't have to 
stare at the Moviola all day." 

At home, Siegel uses an Apple He for personal 
projects. With the Appleworks program, Siegel 
developed a chronology of political and cultural 
events during the 1960s for a compilation film he 
is producing with Emile de Antonio. Siegel 
created eight fields, including dates, events, and 
popular figures. The database enables him to 
prioritize certain events differently. For exam- 
ple, when he enters "Gulf of Tonkin Resolu- 
tion" the computer will recall everything that 
went on at the same time, including popular 
songs. 

OFFICE WARS 

A microcomputer can do many things, but it's 
not an instantaneous miracle worker, as many 
users-to-be expect. In fact, it can cause a macro- 
mess. Computerization often becomes an emo- 
tional experience; some love it like a friend, 
others are inexplicably intimidated. What if the 
executive director is a computer catatonic and 
the program director a keyboard wizard? A 
director might start off computerizing the 
transcript and logs for a film or tape, but the 
editor may opt to cut and paste with scissors and 
rubber cement instead of electronically blocking 
a script. 

The major problems that accompany the tran- 
sition are more a function of planning, manage- 
ment, and human relations, not technology. 
Computerization means reorganizing an of- 
fice — whether a production office or a media 
center. Computers may be fairly compact, but 
with a printer, monitor, piles of computer paper, 
disk files, assorted manuals, and printer noise, 
the computer station demands a rearrangement 
of space. Often overworked, underpaid people 
— who still have to submit a budget before a 
deadline or a tape before yesterday, computer or 
no — must take the time for training and learning 
hands-on, experiencing a series of disastrous 
mistakes. (After using Leading Edge for over six 
months, I still managed to erase 94 percent of the 
information on a disk that had taken my associ- 
ate producer a week to input.) After a while, the 
skills level of different individuals in the office 
may be highly uneven, and some, like WMM's 
bookkeeper, may be reluctant to use the 
machine. At TWN, one staffmember had to 
double his electronic bookkeeping load because 
another project director resisted learning to use 
the computer. 

Yet, the greatest problem I've observed in 
computerized offices is everyone competing to 
get on-line. After the blood, sweat, and fears of 
the electronic monster-miracle, computers can 
become so integrated into daily operations that 
having one computer becomes akin to having 
one file drawer, or one pen and one piece of 
paper. Of course, with constantly changing op- 
tions, you can look forward to new programs 
and machines to master. 



RESOURCES 

Software 

The basic software that various artists and 
organizations have used or customized, such as 
DBase III, Nutshell, Lotus 12 3, WordPerfect, 
and Appleworks, are readily purchased with 
your computer package or through any com- 
puter retailer. 

Aames and Lee: Log, electronic logbook for pic- 
ture editors and assistants, $495; Cue, prints out 
reel by reel information for cue sheets, auto- 
matically recalculating any changes. Cue prints 
updated labels to stick on the cue sheets, Cue + 
prints out entire new sheets, $495 for the 
package; ADR, formatting typewriter for 
Automatic Dialogue Replacement editors, 
works like a columnar word-processor, can pro- 
duce individual ADR cue sheets for each actor, 
$395; TV, produces television one-liners, con- 
sisting of a brief summary description of scenes 
with footage and time, $ 1 59 alone, or $79 as add- 
on to Log. For Aames and Lee software, $100 
discount for purchase of a second program, and 
$200 discount for purchase of a third. Aames 
and Lee, 5007 Stony Creek, Los Angeles, CA; 
(213) 839-9171; or c/o Joseph King, Four 
Seasons Publishing, 300 E. 46th St., New York, 
NY 10017; (212) 599-2141. 

BCS Software: Produces programs for the Ap- 
ple lie and He. BCS Timecode Reader Program, 
$190 (standard), $290 (PAL/30 frame version), 
$290 (24/30 frame version); E-Lister, edit deci- 
sion list program, $240; California residents add 
sales tax. BCS Software, 13432 Lochrin Lane, 
Sylmar, CA 91342. 

CineCom Software: Produces Show Auditor 
budget package. CineCom Software, 2338 Clark 
Ave., Venice, CA 90291; (213) 827-5457. 

Computer Aided Video: Produces the most 
widely-known software for film and video pro- 
duction among the independents I spoke to: 
Associate Producer, Edit Lister, and Script- 
writer. C/o Comprehensive Video, 148 Veterans 
Drive, Northvale, NJ 07647; (201) 767-7990. 

Dot Zero: Budget packages. Dot Zero, Inc., 
8425 W. Third St., Ste. 300, Los Angeles, CA 
90048; (213) 655-4005. 

EZ Schedule: Scheduling form for PhaseCom 
Directors used by access channels. Kansas City 
Public Information Office, (816) 274-2601. 

Quantum Films: DataMogul, budget for 
features, television, documentaries of any size 
for MS-DOS operating systems. Package in- 
cludes choice of over 30 different budget forms 
on data disk, $595, and $25 for each additional 
data disk; Turbo A.D., script breakdown and 
production schedule program, $595. Quantum 
Films, 8344 Melrose Ave., Ste. 24, Los Angeles, 
CA 90069; (213) 852-9661. 



14 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE/JULY 1986 



Screenplay Systems: Scriptor formats text into 
screenplay style; Movie Magic budget package. 
Screenplay Systems, 348 E. Olive Ave., Ste. F, 
Burbank, CA 91502; (818) 843-6557. 

Note: Some screenwriters also use a combina- 
tion of the Wordstar word-processing program 
with the Superkey format program to print out 
their text in screenplay style. 

Bulletin Boards, Networks, Services 

AICOM: Dubbed "access to intelligence," has 
an indigenous peoples' computer network and 
access to the Indigenous Press Network (IPN). 
Associated Indigenous Communications, 301 S. 
Geneva St., G-2, Ithaca, NY 14850; (607) 
273-0168 or Box 71 , Highland, MD 20777; (301) 
854-0499. 

Art Com Electronic Network: ACEN consists of 
the Art Com Magazine, now electronic, Bulletin 
Board System, and Datanet. ACEN, Box 3123, 
Rincon Annex, San Francisco, CA 94119; 
modem (415) 332-6016, or voice (415) 431-7524. 

Baseline: Database on the film and television in- 
dustry. Baseline, Inc., 80 E. 11th St., New York, 
NY 10003; (212) 254-8235. 

CompuServe: Videotex service provides access to 
national news wires, weather information, fi- 
nancial data, electronic banking, and shop at 
home services, as well as a communications net- 
work for electronic mail, a bulletin board, and 
multichannel CB simulator. CompuServe, Box 
20212, 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., Columbus, 
OH 43220; (800) 848-8199. 

EcoNet: International Ecology Network, a pro- 
ject of the Farallones Institute has a bulletin 
board, conferencing, and electronic mail. Eco- 
Net, 15290 Coleman Valley Rd., Occidental, CA 
95465; (707) 874-3060. 

National Federation of Local Cable Programers 
Bulletin Board: Greg Smith, Champagne Ur- 
bana Communications, 303 Fairlawn Dr., Ur- 
bana, IL 61801; modem (217) 359-9118, or voice 
(217) 384-2520. 

Official Airlines Guide: Booking and scheduling 
information for airlines; (800) 323-3537. 

People Message System: Santee, CA, maintains 
a bulletin board master list; (619) 561-7277. 

ShowBiz Bulletin Board: Los Angeles, CA, 
speaks for itself; (213) 666-8588. 

WELL: Whole Earth Lectronic Link, a Bay 
Area regional teleconferencing system, with tele- 
conferencing, database services, binary file 
transfer, and electronic mail. WELL, 27 Gate 
Five Rd., Sausalito, CA 94965; modem (415) 
332-6106, or voice (415) 332-4335. 

Publications 



includes the National Standard for Arts Infor- 
mation Exchange coding system now used by 
arts agencies all over the country. National 
Assembly of State Arts Agencies, (202) 
347-6352. 

Communicating in the 80s (see Benton Founda- 
tion). 

The Guide to Computing around Portland, by 
Hank Bannister and Tun Crane, a guide to com- 
puter resources in the Portland, Oregon, and 
Vancouver, Washington, areas. MicroCon- 
sulting Northwest, Box 15075, Portland, OR 
97214. 

How to Buy Software: The Master Guide to 
Picking the Right Program, by Alfred Gloss- 
brenner, 1984, $14.95, St. Martin's Press. 

How to Select Your Small Computer. . . With- 
out Frustration and How to Manage Your Small 
Computer. . . Without Frustration, by Hillel 
Segal and Jesse Berst. Association of Computer 
Users, Box 9003, 4800 Riverbend Rd., Boulder, 
CO 80301; (303) 443-3600. 

Linkup: Communications and the Small Com- 
puter, monthly magazine devoted to small com- 
puters as communications devices. Linkup, 6531 
Cambridge St., Minneapolis, MN 55426. 

Nonprofits Enter the Computer Age, includes 
discussions on the planning process, sources of 
free hardware, etc., $6.95. Community Careers 
Resource Center, 1520 16th St., NW, Washington, 
DC 20036; (202) 387-7702. 

Plumb, bulletin boards newsletter. Plumb, Box 
300, Harrods Creek, KY 400276. 

The Whole Earth Software Catalogue I & II, 
edited by Stewart Brand, a complete guide to 
buying and using software with reviews, 1984 
and 1985, $17.50, Doubleday. 

The Word Processing Book, by Peter A. 
McWilliams. 1984, $9.95, Doubleday. 

Other Resources 

Apple Computer Community Affairs Program 
has given a number of hardware and software 
grants to media organizations to set up net- 
works. More recently, the grants have been fun- 
neled through the National Endowment for the 
Arts to Advancement Grant recipients. Apple 
Computers, 20525 Mariani Ave., M/S 13-A, 
Cupertino, CA 95014; (408) 973-2974. 

Art Museum Association, San Francisco, CA, 
has tested ARTIS, a low-cost arts management 
program for museums; (415) 392-9222. 

Association of Computer Users (see How to 
Select Your Small Computer). 

BCD Associates, Oklahoma City, OK, pioneer- 
ing interactive video company; (405) 843-4574. 



of public understanding and use of traditional 
and emerging communications media. Recently 
they published the book Communicating in the 
80's: New Options for the Nonprofit Communi- 
ty, with discussions on the use of microcom- 
puters. Benton Foundation, 1776 K St., NW, 
900, Washington, DC 20006; (202) 857-1758. 

Community Computer Center, Portland, OR, 
resource center for nonprofits; (503) 231-1285. 

Computers for the Arts, computer services and 
consulting to arts organizations. Computers for 
the Arts, 945 West End Ave., #1C, New York, 
NY 10025; (212) 222-0085. 

Computer in Arts Organizations, CIAO-Man- 
hattan, an arts user group. Steering committee 
member Steve Davidson is happy to talk to peo- 
ple about starting similar user groups. Steve 
Davidson, Museum of Broadcasting, One E. 
53rd St., New York, NY 10022; (212) 752-4690; 
or Jim Meza, Whitney Museum of American 
Art, 945 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10021; 
(212) 570-3693. 

Cultural Council Foundation offers consulta- 
tion and services to member organizations in 
New York State. CCF, 625 Broadway, 8th fl., 
New York, NY 10012; (212) 473-5660. 

IBM user group listings for your area can be ob- 
tained from the local IBM Product Center, soon 
to be renamed Nynex Business Centers. 

International Apple Core, Apple computer user 
groups. International Apple Core, Dept. MAC, 
908 George St., Santa Clara, CA 95050. 

New Technology Resource Center, resource 
center for nonprofit organizations. Museum of 
Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Dr., 
Chicago, IL 60637; (312) 784-1414. 

Seeger Microcomputer Center, training, con- 
sultation, and resources for artists and nonprofit 
organizations. Seeger Microcomputer Center, 93 
Franklin St., 3rd fl., New York, NY; (212) 
219-1258. 

TCN, Telecommunications Cooperative Net- 
work, has electronic mail, databank, newswires, 
and bulletin board services. One database, 
Grants, can be used for identifying funding 
sources, locating partners for cooperative ef- 
forts, tracking giving patterns, and evaluating 
proposals. TCN, 505 8th Ave., Ste. 1805, New 
York, NY 10018; (212) 714-9780. 

Theatre Communications Group, has tested 
AIMS, the performing arts software; (212) 
697-5230. 

For artists and organizations alike, your local 
media arts center may be a useful resource for in- 
formation on computerization. Many are in sim- 
ilar throes of learning how to go electronic. 



All in Order: Information Systems for the Arts, Benton Foundation, supports work in the area Rene- Tajima 1986 
JUNE/JULY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 15 



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A Macintosh Primer 



David W. Leitner 

One day recently two unrelated newspaper 
stories caught my notice. To coordinate precious 
winter inventories of caribou and seal meat, the 
Inuit of Frobisher Bay on Canada's Baffin Is- 
land had outfitted each village with a personal 
computer and modem, a device for communi- 
cating over telephone lines. And southward, in 
budget-cutting Gramm-Rudman Washington, 
the Smithsonian Institution's new director 
Robert Adams had removed the showy Vic- 
torian trappings of his predecessor's office and 
installed a desktop computer. Presumably, 
neither urbane museum chief Adams nor tradi- 
tional museum subjects, the Inuit, were com- 
puter enthusiasts who perused arcane codes in 
popular computer magazines or swapped tech- 
nobanter with teenage hackers. It's unlikely 
either craved special courses in software use. 
Rather, cultures apart, under similar pressures to 
manage scarce resources, both undoubtedly 
looked to the technology of Apple Computer's 
Macintosh for the same untechnical reason: the 
Mac is controlled by familiar images, not cryptic 
commands. 

We independent film and video producers, 
another endangered community, also know 
something about scarcity and belt-tightening. In 
our world, opportunities to be creative often de- 
pend upon our success at efforts uncreative. As 
producers, we do our own budgets, write pro- 
posals, and send off endless grant applications. 
As scriptwriters, we type, format, retype and re- 
format. As production managers, we break down 

16 THE INDEPENDENT 



scenes and organize shooting schedules. As 
camera assistants, we inventory film; as script 
supervisors, update shooting scripts; and as 
assistant directors, keep track of over time. At 
home as industry freelances, we organize in- 
voices, work schedules, and professional ex- 
penses. Later, the stultifying need for or- 
ganization continues as the film lab pulls takes, 
the editor lists SMPTE time-code numbers, and 
the negative matcher searches edge numbers. 
With such a disproportionate ratio of logistics to 
art, a pc has become perhaps as necessary to our 
livelihood — not to mention our sanity — as that 
of the Inuit. However, with so many needs and 
so little time, our pc must be flexible and facile. 
Many different types of software must be 
available and accessible. Our pc must create 
spare time, not consume it. This article will 
therefore focus on the Macintosh and its linger- 
ing mystique — where the Mac came from, what 
it does, and why so many filmmakers and video 
producers have embraced it over the past year. 

APPLE BLOSSOMS 

Two years ago in the course of researching a col- 
umn on computer-aided budgeting for film and 
video production, I began to explore the larger 
subject of personal computing. Along the way, I 
abandoned all hope of quickly resolving the key 
questions of software, hardware, operating 
systems, and ease-of-use. The more "experts" I 
queried, the cloudier the picture became. This 
was a time when the computer industry was on a 
roll, turning over new technologies by the 
season. Few could keep up with the rapid fire of 



new products. A circus atmosphere reigned as 
huge annual sales increases for software and 
hardware companies alike led to ostentatious 
trade shows and hyperventilated press con- 
ferences promising unrealized products. 
"Vaporware" entered the vocabulary. But even 
as the Reagan-era news media beatified the en- 
trepreneurial hubris of Silicon Valley, storm 
clouds gathered. Struggling computer com- 
panies facing Chapter 1 1 proceedings withdrew 
support from rapidly outmoded systems, strand- 
ing hapless owners of Osborne, Franklin Ace, 
Victor 9000, Gavilan, et al. The public began to 
lose interest in the weak "home computers" of 
Timex, Atari, Coleco, and Commodore. And in 
1981, latecomer IBM entered the pc market, 
flexing its marketing muscle and seizing the lion's 
share by 1983. 

And then there was Apple, started ten years 
ago last April in a California garage by two kids 
who used to make, among other things, elec- 
tronic devices the telephone company would 
frown upon. While the big computer manufac- 
turers were sleeping, the two Steves, Jobs and 
Wozniak, invented both the pc and the concept 
of the pc in a fit of sixties-style technology-for- 
the-people. Placing a computer on a desktop 
would no longer require a forklift. But instead of 
charging more for their miniature "microcom- 
puter," Jobs and Wozniak priced it so that or- 
dinary people could afford it. Soon the Apple II 
propelled Apple out of the garage and onto Wall 
Street as the world's leading pc maker— until 
IBM arrived on the scene. But business success 
did not quell cofounder Steve Jobs's Utopian vi- 
sion of the computer as "the most incredible in- 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



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of the computer as "the most incredible invention" of man He had helped 
invent the first generation of pc, he intended to see in the second, as well. 



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"Mec" in Film/Video 



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Like the first Apple, the Mac was born of an ideal: ordinary people should T 
be able to use the computer like an "appliance " They should never have to 
handle add-on boards thick with sensitive-looking electronic components 



Left: The Macintosh desktop: icons in upper right comer represent 
disks In drives; windows show what Is on each disk; the menu bar at 
top lists commands; and the trash can Is at lower right corner. 

Middle: Display ot three windows containing entry forms for the 
database program Double Helix; a user can design and modify 
these endlessly with this kind of relational database; a name that 
belongs on multiple lists is entered only once and the database 
automatically updates the related lists. 

Right: Using MacWrlte software, the final hard copy printed out looks 
exactly like what Is displayed on the screen, showing page breaks, 
typeface, bottom and top margins, etc. 

All illustrations courtesy of the author 



vention" ever. He had helped invent the first 
generation of pc's, he intended to see in the sec- 
ond as well. 

Like the first Apple, the Mac was born of an 
ideal: ordinary people should be able to use the 
computer like an appliance. They should never 
have to handle add-on boards thick with sensi- 
tive-looking electronic components. They 
should not have to memorize lists of mnemonic 
prompts and commands in fractured English or 
worry about invisible embedded characters on 
the screen. What they see on screen should be ex- 
actly what they get on paper. Technology should 
make technology transparent. The Macintosh 
project soon became Apple's Manhattan Project 
as an obsessed Jobs isolated his young, brilliant, 
hand-picked team of Mac developers from Ap- 
ple corporate control, at one point hoisting a 
skull-and-crossbones above the garage-like Mac 
project building. Finally, after three years of 
16-hour workdays and us-against-IBM esprit, 
the first Mac was shipped in January of 1984. 

Since my initial foray into the realm of com- 
puter-aided budgeting, the U.S. pc industry has 
fallen on hard times. The U.S. semiconductor 
business has nosedived, aggravated by Asian 
competition. Like the auto industry, computer 
imports have driven prices down, shifting the 
market from seller to buyer. In the face of grow- 
ing consumer sophistication, poorly conceived 
products have dropped away; not even IBM 
could sell their PC Jr. The industry has sobered 
up, and a clearer picture of sensible hardware 
and software choices has emerged. In business, 
for example, IBM and IBM clones made by 
others dominate, and their software is ubi- 
quitous. One can't go wrong with IBM, there's 
no risk at all. 

There's also precious little excitement. I share 
the view that the Mac is nothing less than the 
vanguard of second generation personal com- 
puters. The first generation required the user to 
come to it. (Remember the demand for pro- 
gramming courses in grade school by parents 
frantic their children would grow up "comput- 
er-illiterate"?) Computers such as the Apple He 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



and IBM PC require, if not programming, then 
time, patience, and memory skills to overcome 
their software. The Mac and subsequent com- 
puters like the Commodore Amiga and the 520 
ST go to the user, utilizing the vastly increased 
horsepower of next-generation microprocessor 
chips to render keyboard commands in plain 
English — or banish them altogether with a 
"mouse." The idea behind second generation 
pc's is simple: as computer brainpower grows, 
computers should do the work of adapting to 
people, not the other way around. 

THE SECOND GENERATION 

Conventional pc's like the IBM are almost pure 
hardware: a microprocessing chip (central pro- 
cessing unit, CPU) surrounded by chips for ran- 
dom access memory (RAM). Software applica- 
tions like word-processing and database 
management are stored on floppy disks, as is the 
operating system. The operating system— a 
special housekeeping program that coordinates 
disk drives, RAM, screen, keyboard, and printer 
so that they work together — is basic to the com- 
puter's organization and independent of any 
software with which it might share a disk. 
Popular disk-based operating systems are CP/M 
(Control Program for Microprocessors), used by 
many pc's in the early eighties, Apple DOS (Disk 
Operating System) for the Apple II, and IBM's 
PC-DOS (identical to MS-DOS, Microsoft Disk 
Operating System, used by PC-compatibles). 
The linking of computer and person, arguably 
the most important interface of all, isn't address- 
ed by these disk-based operating systems. In- 
stead, the user interface — how the computer 
outputs information onto the screen and how 
the user responds, whether by means of typed 
codes, special function keys, or keyboard- 
controlled cursor movements — is left to the soft- 
ware and, therefore, the software author's 
whim. This lack of standardization prevents 
most people from ever mastering more than one 
or two programs. Users who invest a great deal 
of time and concentration learning commands 



and minutia specific to one program have to 
undergo the process every time they learn a new 
program. Ironically, this leads to a situation 
where new software functionally equivalent to 
that already available can be marketed solely on 
the basis of improved screen display and ease-of- 
use. For hardcore hobbyists who like to hunker 
down with a shelf of thick manuals ("often 
translated from Swedish by Japanese for English 
speakers," per one wit) and compare competing 
approaches, there's no harm done; but the 
redundancy of software often bewilders and in- 
timidates both the experienced user and the 
uninitiated; and, of course, dabbling in new soft- 
ware is not cheap. 

In the early days of the automobile, the loca- 
tions of the accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals 
varied, as well as starting and gearing pro- 
cedures. Today any driver can slide into any car 
with automatic transmission and drive off. 
While much is made of IBM compatibility, 
meaning that hardware built by others will sup- 
port IBM's operating system and run its soft- 
ware, the issue of user interface is not addressed. 
The Mac's operating system is not IBM compati- 
ble, but it does incorporate and guarantee a stan- 
dard user interface for all software that follows 
Apple's programming guidelines, that is, all ma- 
jor software. The Mac's design reinforces this, 
since its operating system is not disk-based, but 
permanently burned into a read-only memory 
chip (ROM) inside the Mac. Regardless of the 
software in use, the Mac's ROM tracks the 
movement of the mouse and draws all the win- 
dows, file folders, dialogue boxes, menu bars, 
pull-down menus, system icons, and screen 
typefaces in exactly the same way. To guarantee 
aesthetic uniformity, they were all designed by 
Mac-team graphic designer Susan Kare. This 
built-in interface frees the programmer from the 
responsibility of having to invent a user interface 
and provides a uniform environment for the user 
at all times. Once a user learns to open and get 
around in one application, others are very much 
the same. Indeed, Mac users rate software ap- 
plications on how successfully the programmer 

THE INDEPENDENT 17 



has exploited the built-in interface, how "Mac- 
like" the software is. 

The Mac is sometimes advertised as the easiest 
computer to use. Users will describe it as "in- 
tuitive." This is due to the fact that the Mac's in- 
terface is not only uniform, but visual — a potent 
brew of newer technology in the service of older 
ideas. This visual interface concept was devel- 
oped in the late seventies at Xerox's legendary 
Palo Alto Research Center. The PARC think 
tank originated the idea of replacing the conven- 
tional key-board command, line-oriented com- 
puter environment with a graphics-driven 
display. To perform a task, a user would simply 
point to a small graphic representation, an icon 
of the desired task and click a button. The but- 
ton was located atop a soap bar-sized pointing 
device that functioned as an inverted track ball. 
This mouse, so-called because of its long tail-like 
wire to the computer, was rolled around the 
table top beside the computer. A pointer on the 
screen, a kind of free floating cursor, followed 
its path. But this pointer was much more than a 
simple cursor. By sliding the mouse, positioning 
the pointer over a tiny icon of written page, and 
clicking the mouse button, icon and, by proxy, the 
document the icon represented, could be drag- 
ged by the pointer across the screen and 
deposited on top of, or in, a tiny icon of a file 
folder. A subsequent mouse click with the point- 
er over the icon of the file folder would open it, 
revealing the icon of the document inside. A 
document could thus be filed without typing a 
single cryptic command or, for that matter, 
touching the keyboard. Cursor keys were 
eliminated. 

Xerox's costly Star workstation for office 
automation debuted in 1981 but represented 
such a radical departure from other computers 
that Xerox corporate management soon orphan- 
ed it. However, Star seeds wafted through the air 
of Silicon Valley and took root elsewhere. In 
1983 Apple introduced its $10,000 business com- 
puter, the Lisa, the first pc with icons, windows, 
multitasking, a cut-and-paste integration of soft- 
ware, and a mouse. The over-priced Lisa soon 
floundered; again, the business community was 
skeptical. But within a year Jobs's rogue design 
team had put the finishing touches on the Mac, a 
pc for the masses with the capabilities of the Lisa 
at a quarter the price (effectively finishing off the 
Lisa). 

Like the Star and Lisa, the Mac's powerful 
visual interface employs not only iconography 
but analogy. Even as the Mac sits atop a literal 
desktop, its screen is a figurative desktop. On 
this metaphorical surface sit icons that represent 
documents, files, software applications, disks, 
and, in one corner, a trash can for — you guessed 
it — trashing unwanted icons. Each icon has a lit- 
tle label in English under it, so documents and 
films can be easily identified. To see what's in an 
icon, a double click of the mouse button causes a 
big window to spring out of the icon. Inside the 

18 THE INDEPENDENT 



window are either more icons, a document text, 
or perhaps a software application. Along the top 
of the desktop is the pull-down menu bar, where 
selections list all of the Mac's commands in 
English. A mouse click on the "edit" selection of 
the menu bar causes a menu of options to des- 
cend that includes, for example, commands for 
"cutting and pasting." Upon clicking the cut 
command, any portion of a line of text can be 
highlighted by the mouse, excerpted by a click of 
the mouse, and relocated elsewhere. The same 
holds true for graphics. Indeed, text can be cut 
into graphics, and graphics into text. Also on the 
menu bar is a list of "desk accessories," each of 
which the user adds or subtracts from the ap- 
plication program, depending on his or her 
needs. There are dozens of these available, and 
they parallel functions performed by real 
desktop items like clocks, calendars, notepads, 
scrapbooks, calculators, and silly games. 

Notably, the Mac was conceived from the 
beginning as an international machine. While 
standard U.S. operating systems like CP/M and 
MS-DOS require some knowledge of English, 
computing by mouse and universal symbols 
(akin to international signs in airports) does not. 
Even on the Mac's plastic case, little bas-relief 
icons represent the various external devices that 
can be connected. In addition, the Mac's ROM 
hasn't a word of English. The ROM routines 
were written without alphabet or character sets 
in what's called assembly language. While the 
Mac's icons are drawn by the ROM-based 
operating system, icon labels are fashioned from 
individual languages and alphabets held in a 
resource file, a software adjunct to the operating 
system, stored on disk. For instance, a Spanish 
resource file attached to a generic Mac word- 
processing or graphics program creates Spanish 
icon labels, pull-down menus, dialogue boxes, 
and so forth. (Of course, one can use the desktop 
in any language by icon recognition alone.) Cur- 
rently, there are Macs in 11 languages, including 
a special Quebecois version, and fonts for 
everything from Hebrew to Sanskrit. This inter- 
nationalist approach ensures that the best Mac 
software written will be available worldwide. 

Compared to hand sketching and cell anima- 
tion, pc graphics look somewhat crude and 
cheap. However, the Mac's graphics, which are 
extraordinary, were not created merely for their 
visual quality. Rather, the visual interface and 
what-you-see-is-what-you-get display require 
the graphic technique of bit-mapping. Bit- 
mapping divides the screen into a tight grid of 
342 x 5 12 square pixels that are either in a state of 
being white or black. Every element on the 
screen, whether a letter of text or a picture, is 
reduced to a mosaic of these tiny squares, a sort 
of graphic digitization. In turn, both the Apple 
Imagewriter dot-matrix printer and the near off- 
set quality LaserWriter recreate the bit-mapped 
screen at exactly the same scale. Other comput- 
ers require special "graphics mode" add-on 



cards for bit-mapping and are usually operated 
in a less taxing text mode that limits the display to 
a single style of computerish lettering. The Mac's 
single mode truly integrates both text and graph- 
ics. As a result, a wide variety of graphic type 
fonts, styles, and sizes are available, e.g., 18 
point italic Helvetica bold. And you can design 
your own fonts. Like type that is hand-set, and 
in contrast to that of a typewriter, Mac fonts are 
proportionately spaced, meaning that a "w" and 
an "i" occupy different amounts of line space. 
Although true greys don't exist in Mac graphics, 
a tonal scale is approximated since, like half-tone 
photo reproductions, the eye perceives denser 
patterns as darker shades of grey. 

Why black and white? This is the least under- 
stood feature of the Mac. But anyone who's ever 
looked closely at a color video monitor or tried 
word-processing with a color screen should 
understand the advantages. All color screens re- 
quire three bits of red, green, and blue to syn- 
thesize a single white dot, and each such triad of 
colored bits is defined by three tiny holes in the 
screen's perforated foil shadow mask. (The Sony 
Trinitron is an exception, but the following com- 
ments still apply.) The minimum diameter or 
pitch of each RGB cluster is limited by heat con- 
siderations, so that the sharpest color screen is 
not even a third as sharp as the sharpest black 
and white screen, which requires no shadow 
mask at all. A color screen works fine when sit- 
ting across the living room, but close up the im- 
age, especially text, appears broken and unsight- 
ly. The Mac's monitor, on the other hand, is 
scanned at 60. 15 non-interlaced frames per se- 
cond at what translates into a video bandwidth 
of 20MHz. For comparison, Sony's HDTV scans 
30 interlaced frames epr second at 20MHZ. Using 
a small, inexpensive nine-inch black and white 
monitor, the Mac achieves high resolution fonts 
and graphics against a white background like an 
expensive dedicated word-processor, and at 
normal scale, since readable text as small as that 
on a normal page is possible. 

Some new IBM PC software is beginning to 
emulate the Macintosh look as best it can, offer- 
ing windowing, pull-down menus, and desk ac- 
cessories — even a mouse — without, however, a 
complete desktop environment. But software 
alone can't do it. It takes prodigious amounts of 
computing power to support a bit-mapped visual 
interface. The Mac's 32/16 bit Motorola 68000 
next-generation CPU wasn't available when the 
pokey 8/16 Intel 8088 was selected for the IBM 
PC, nor were Sony's 3.5-inch shirt pocket-sized 
U.S. mail-resistant micro-floppy disks that hold 
800K of memory, in contrast to IBM's 5.25-inch 
disks with a typical 360K each. Early users of 
128K RAM Macs, myself included, did com- 
plain about slow speed — with all the necessary 
processing and accessing to disk, 128K of 
memory was grossly inadequate — but this pro- 
blem has been alleviated by the introduction of 
the 512 "Fast Mac," and more recently, the one- 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



i File Edit Formula Format Data Options Macro Window 



ITEMIZED BUDGET FOR THE FILM SAMPLE PROJECT 

Acct » "Description Amt \ Pete I Subto' 
Sec I 'PRE-PRODUCTION -'ewecita 



C Accountant ( pt ) 



ctor of Photography 



ceSupplte 
ntincj & Xei 



$1,000 00 
$900 00 I 
$200 00 ' 
$600 00 
$500 00 " 
$900 00 : 



$500 00 
$300 00 
$400 00 ' 



$6,000 00 _ 
$7,200 00 ' 
$1,200 00 _ 
$3,600 00 ' 
$500 00 ; 
$1 800 00* 



$1,000 00 j 
$600 00 ' 

$800 00: 



m 



Excel software can generate a sophisticated 
spreadsheet for budgeting production work. 



Project* I ilit liiijoiits 




O Display f'<ig« 

® Action 

O Dialogue 

O Parenthetical 

O Character Name 

OTransitions 

O Page Numbers 

O Right Scene Number 

O Left Scene Outdent 

O Gutter 




Top: The Scrlptor program provides a 
blueprint approach to script layout. Middle: 
the same script can be formatted as a play, TV 
movie or feature film. Bottom: Scrlptor will sug- 
gest a place to break dialogue for a new 
page. 

JUNE/JULY 1986 



megabyte Mac Plus which can be upgraded to 
four megabytes. In addition, 10 and 20 
megabyte hard disks for the Mac, including the 
popular Hyper Drive 20 that fits totally inside the 
half-empty Mac case, have proliferated, and 
prices are falling rapidly. Macs are now 
hyperkinetic. If Victor Hugo was correct when 
he said that no army can withstand the strength 
of a good idea whose time has come, it 's a fair bet 
that IBM's new pc with the Intel 80386 chip that 
should appear in early 1987, will bear more than 
a little resemblance to the Mac in its windowing 
and multitasking capabilities. Already, new and 
sophisticated systems like Lucasfilm's 68000- 
based SoundDroid are implementing Mac-like 
second generation features: a bit-mapped high- 
resolution black and white display, icons for 
dubbers (there are no real dubbers: all sound is 
digitized on hard disks), and the cutting and 
pasting of pictorialized lengths of sound. 



MAC SHOWBIZ 

Why the Mac for independent pro ucers? In two 
words: rampant versatility. So many more pro- 
grams are learnable and features genuinely 
useful that the independent film or video pro- 
ducer is certain to exploit it more fully than other 
pc's. As with other pc's, there are terrific spread- 
sheet, word-processing, database management, 
and accounting programs — enhanced of course 
by the Mac's elegant visual interface. However, 
no comparable pc offers the Mac's graphics. The 
same holds for the Mac's laser-writer, which with 
near offset-quality text and graphics started a 
revolution called desktop publishing. (Laser- 
writers are perhaps too expensive to own, but 
some copy shops have them.) And especially 
tantalizing is the Mac's unique propensity for 
Musical Instrument Digital Interface 
(MIDI), composed music slaved to SMPTE time 
code. Again, the Mac is a standout here. 

Within the first few months that I used my 
Mac, for instance, I not only laser-printed pro- 
posals, budgets, press releases, and cor- 
respondence with a self-designed letterhead, but 
discovered myriad unanticipated uses as well. By 
utilizing large laser-writer fonts I produced 
sheets of camera ready art for lower-third film 
subtitles in minutes. A few years ago, with rulers, 
blue pencils, drafting board, and expensive 
sheets of presstype this would have consumed 
hours and not produced results as even; and I 
couldn't have changed my mind on the spot if I 
didn't like the type style. I also enlisted my Mac 
as a makeshift teleprompter. A rough cut of a 
16mm documentary required scratch transla- 
tions of Spanish interviews into English. The 
translator's halting English was less than ideal, 
so a second voice was required. With flatbed 
running, I typed the translator's words into the 
Mac as she spoke, then went back and cleaned 
up syntax and punctuation. I then enlarged the 



type to teleprompter size, advanced the flatbed 
to the beginning of each interview, and, with the 
Mac astride the flatbed screen, scrolled up each 
big-lettered line in synchrony with the image. 
The voiceover narrator was able to pace herself 
emotionally by observing the image, and we 
recorded her on the spot. The whole thing took a 
matter of minutes. 

This process took place in Cincinnati. I have 
flown my Mac from New York City to Boston 
and Pawleys Island, South Carolina, too. It fits 
with keyboard, mouse, and extra disk drive in a 
fancy gunny sack that slides under an airplane 
seat. This is only possible because the Mac takes 
advantage of state-of-the-art computer design: 
less than 45 chips instead of IBM PC's over 200, 
no fan (Jobs hated them). As a result, the Mac's 
base size, or footprint, is 207 square inches in- 
stead of the PC's 456. Due to airline restrictions 
on baggage size, a larger computer and separate 
monitor simply can't be hand-carried on a com- 
mercial flight, especially the cramped low-fare 
variety. For a freelancer who often travels and 
may be on location for weeks, this can be a key 
issue, because a truly portable pc and modem 
permits one to conduct both personal finances 
and business correspondence from a distance. 
For instance, by enlisting Citibank's Direct Ac- 
cess for the Mac, I can examine the status of my 
checking and credit card accounts, transfer 
funds between accounts, and direct the bank to 
issue and mail checks to anyone, anywhere. I can 
also have checks sent out at specified dates in the 
future, even if I'm abroad. With MCI electronic 
mail, for example, my correspondence can be 
word-processed on location and forwarded 
through the modem to another party's computer 
screen, to a telex machine anywhere in the 
world — yes, pc's are now telexes, too — or to 
MCI itself, which will laser-print and mail it. 
Why not write a conventional letter and buy a 
stamp? Not only can e-mail be sent from the 
motel room and delivered within hours, but 
there's an instant carbon copy on disk, and it's 
relatively inexpensive. Hint: e-mail is handy for 
resume distribution. 

On-location production tasks for the Mac can 
include managing payrolls, equipment lists, 
camera reports, film inventories, script changes, 
even storyboard changes. A note of caution, 
however: the Mac's place is probably not on the 
set, but in the production office or motel room. 
Competing with the gaffers for an outlet, or 
word-processing while in fear of a grip pulling 
the plug or killing the generator could be 
frustrating. A light stand might topple onto it, or 
it could sprout legs and walk while no one was 
paying attention. Production managers, assis- 
tant camerapeople, script supervisors, et al., 
should probably limit their designs on the Mac to 
end-of-day reporting away from the set, where 
the Mac and its keyboard can be locked bicycle- 
like to a secure object by the Mac's wire cable 
bracket. 

THE INDEPENDENT 19 



BEYOND BASICS 

Outside of the standard types of software like 
word-processing and spread sheets, which are 
better described elsewhere, there are several 
areas of software development of particular in- 
terest to independent producers with Macs. For 
instance, no mere word-processing program can 
anticipate the formatting requirements of a 
120-page film-style script. Separate indentations 
are required for action, dialogue, parentheticals, 
character names, and scene descriptions. Mar- 
gins top, bottom, right, left are also strictly de- 
fined. Page numbers and scene numbers must be 
added, and a decision made at the bottom of 
each page whether to start the first few lines of 
new scene or, leaving a large white space, begin 
at the top of the next page. Scriptor from 
Screenplay Systems takes a screenplay written 
and already roughly formatted in the Mac ver- 
sion of Microsoft Word, a word-processing pro- 
gram, and formats it precisely to formula, even 
adding top and bottom "continued"s. Sure, one 
could format the screenplay with Microsoft 
Word, but when the inevitable revisions occur, 
Scriptor tracks and automatically reformats 
scene and page numbers and breaks, saving 
hours of time. Scriptor, which has other useful 
features, like selected-scene printing, has been 
around several years in CP/M and PC-DOS ver- 
sions and is used by many Los Angeles sitcom 
and film scriptwriters. The Mac version offers 
some new goodies, like a "blueprint" of the page 
layout and a choice of fonts. 

For many film and videomakers, the Mac's 
superb graphics have suggested the possibility of 
storyboarding by pc. In fact, the Mac's original 
graphics program, Apple's MacPaint, is so 
clever and versatile that no other software is re- 
quired. MacPaint not only provides the expected 
lines, circles, polygons, and textures (it can 
simulate spray painting), but enables flipping, 
rotation, shrinking, enlarging, tonal inversion, 
stretching to add perspective, and extensive cut- 
ting and pasting of picture elements. Fine pixel- 
by-pixel detailing is obtained in the magnified fat 
bit mode. If the mouse becomes too clumsy to 
use for sketching, several styluses and digitizing 
pad devices are available, as well as collections of 
prepared images for the cut-and-paste breed of 
artist. And, with a program like Storyboarder 
from American Intelliware, sequences of Mac- 
Paint frames can play back in real time with 
simulated zooms, camera moves, wipes, and 
fades/dissolves. Storyboarder provides framing 
for 1.33, 1.85, and TV cut-off and can cluster 
from two to six frames with dialogue notes on a 
page. Also notable among the many programs 
for animating and presenting MacPaint images 
are the Slide Show Magician, by Magnum Soft- 
ware, which also sequences frames and simulates 
effects; Videoworks, by Hayden Software, 
which smoothly animates elements, or 
"castmembers," within a frame, and Mac- 



Movies by Beck-Tech, which uses special data 
compression techniques to play back much long- 
er frame sequences at a rate of up to 30 per sec- 
ond, even in color. 

Another way to create MacPaint images for 
storyboards is to digitize noncomputer images. 
There are a number of relatively inexpensive 
Mac software/hardware systems that accom- 
plish this, and they fall into two categories: those 
that digitize NTSC video signals, whether from a 
camera or VCR, and those that rely on special 
digitizing devices. The first type includes Mac Vi- 
sion from Koala Technologies, Magic from New 
Image Technology, and MacViz from Micro- 
vision. Each comprises special software and a 
small box of digitizing hardware situated in-line 
between the Mac and the video camera or VCR. 
Hardware or software control settings are pro- 
vided for manipulating the grey scale of the 
video field prior to digitizing. Mac Vision's 
capabilities in this regard are elementary, while 
Magic's are extensive, allowing the user to 
customize an image by synthesizing a grey scale 
from selected fine patterns rather than simple 
pixel densities. With either system and a VCR 
that can still-frame, digitized stills can be printed 
from favorite films for studying cut points, 
camera angles, and mise-en-scene. Notably, 
Mac Viz permits watching real time video on the 
Mac, since it samples and simultaneously dis- 
plays 30 fields per second. 

The ingenious Thunderscan, by Thunder- 
ware, doesn't even require a video signal. It con- 
verts the Imagewriter dot-matrix printer into an 
input device for digitizing flat copy. The Im- 
agewriter's ribbon cartridge is replaced by a 
same-sized device, wired to the Mac, that con- 
tains an infrared sensor like that used to read bar 
codes at supermarket checkout counters. As the 
Imagewriter scans the sensor back and forth, as 
if printing, the photo, drawing, document, or 
magazine cover to be copied is advanced by the 
Imagewriter's platen. The resulting resolution is 
phenomenal — Thunderscan a $20 bill, print it 
out on the laser-printer, and you go to jail — but 
even more amazing is the degree of tonal scale 
manipulation possible after an image is scanned. 
With the mouse and a control on the screen that 
resembles a photographed H&D curve, both the 
tonal range and the slope of the contrast curve 
can be set, scrutinized, and endlessly reset after 
scanning, resulting in what amounts to relighting 
a photograph after the shutter has closed. Since 
it's a MacPaint image, elements within the larger 
image can be selectively altered: the whites of 
eyes can be bleached, a cheekbone darkened, a 
cartoon background sketched or digitized into 
the background. All such digitized images, of 
course, can be cut-and-pasted into Storyboarder 
and other Mac graphics software. Incidentally, 
the Mac can also output NTSC video, although 
not without modification. A special board has to 
be mounted internally, with a BNC connection 
grafted to the rear of the Mac. Beck-Tech is very 





Top left: Storyboarder reproduces a digitized image c 
TV cutoff indicated in center. Top right: A playback se 
in the EFX column, next to a column giving duration: 
right: John Tannen of American Intelliware working 
simulated zoom will go upon playback. 




Left: Changing keys, rewriting Bach with Total Music s 
pasting of musical notation. 



20 THE INDEPENDENT 



JUNE/JULY 1936 





>t Leigh from "Psycho." The aspect ratio is 1.85, with a 
:e of stills and short animations. Effects are indicated 
om left: Multiple storyboards with dialogue. Bottom 
itoryboarder. A small 1.85 frame Indicates where a 




re. Right: Professional Composer allows cutting and 



active in this field. They recently introduced a 
modification that outputs color NTSC to an ex- 
ternal monitor, genlocked nonetheless. 

There's also Musical Instrument Digital Inter- 
face software for the Mac. MIDI is a coded 
signal exchange protocol that the musical instru- 
ment industry has voluntarily adopted as a stan- 
dard. In effect, it separates a synthesizer's 
keyboard, which is only an input device, from 
the synthesizer itself. When a number of MIDI 
synths are daisy-chained by MIDI interfaces, 
any of the keyboards, even the lowliest Casio, 
can play any of the synths, from a drum machine 
to a top-shelf Synclavier. But MIDI implies far 
more than the convenience of remote control. A 
pc can substitute for a keyboard, generating 
MIDI codes for synths from notes written on a 
music staff on the computer's screen. Or, con- 
versely, any keyboard — MIDI guitar fretboard, 
flute-like Lyricon, whatever — can generate 
MIDI codes into the pc, which can be stored on 
disk. The pc effectively becomes a recording 
device, with no recording made. There's no 
recording medium, i.e., audiotape, and no signal 
distortion, only MIDI data that can be digitally 
massaged. Sloppy keyboard technique can be 
cleaned up by quantizing and resolving each note 
to the nearest thirty-second or sixty-fourth note. 
Keys can be modulated, tempos altered without 
an accompanying pitch shift, and modalities 
changed from major to minor to, as musicians 
say, "Out." Reading MIDI data out of a pc can 
automate a network of synths, synching them like 
mechanical musicians on a calliope. A further 
nicety: improvisations recorded on floppy disk 
can be printed out as instant scores — no manual 
transcription necessary. 

MIDI software exists for several pc's, the 
Commodore 64 in particular, but again, as with 
graphics, the MAC is in a class by itself with over 
70 music programs available and more on the 
way. One reason is the Mac's high-resolution 
black and white screen, which lends itself to fine- 
ly detailed musical notation. Another reason is 
the Mac's visual interface, which appeals to tech- 
nophobic musicians, and its mouse, which is ex- 
tremely useful for such tasks and dragging notes 
and rests onto a staff. Yet another is the Mac's 
laser-printer, which produces high quality print- 
outs of scores using a special music font. It's no 
accident that the Mac has been adopted as the 
microcomputer interface for waveform analysis, 
editing, and resynthesis on state-of-the art, real- 
sound sampling synths like the Kurzweil and 
E-mu's Emulator 2. While some music software 
is designed for the Mac itself — the Mac's 68000 
chip acts as a built-in four-voice music syn- 
thesizer and a free-form speech synthesizer — the 
film or video producer will find the Mac's MIDI 
capabilities of great interest due to SMPTE/ 
MIDI synchronizer-controllers, designed ex- 
clusively for the Mac. For under $500, a Mac 
SMPTE/MIDI synchronizer-controller slaves 
MIDI data on disk to any videotape recorder 



that can send SMPTE time-code. It reads and 
regenerates SMPTE time-code, or if necessary, 
generates it in the first place. 

The implications of this are remarkable. You 
too can be Jan Hammer, composing moody Mi- 
ami Vice music in front of a video display with 
MIDI equipment on your upstate New York 
farm. Imagine, even if you're not a musician, 
viewing a scene on your home 3 A " VCR, finger- 
ing a simple melody on your $250 Casio CZ-101 , 
and replaying the picture with instant player 
piano-type accompaniment. If you dislike the 
key, tempo, or want to clean up your technique, 
no problem. And if you truly can't play a 
keyboard, you can copy music from a sheet onto 
the Mac's screen. Then, just like word-processing 
and graphics, you can cut-and-paste bars, 
motifs, bass ostinatos, etc. and instantly hear the 
results. A composer might send you musical 
ideas by modem or mailed disk, and you could 
edit these, too. The inexpensive Casio CZ-101, 
incidentally, generates four separate MIDI chan- 
nels at once. With four passes you might build, 
say, a synthesized ensemble of cello, viola, and 
violins. If synth sounds are inappropriate, you 
can print out the score for your favorite chamber 
ensemble. A more professional set up might fea- 
ture a Yamaha DX-7 keyboard/synth and Ro- 
land drum machine in conjunction with a full 
off-line editing system. Since MIDI music is 
married to picture by its SMPTE time-code ad- 
dress, if a scene is moved in editing, the music 
moves with it. Fast forward to a favorite se- 
quence, and the Mac will serve up your ominous 
obbligato just where you left it. 

Libraries of MIDI theme music are sure to ap- 
pear, their selections reproducing not only the 
composition but the original musician's 
performance as well. Already a Boston com- 
pany, Musicworks, has released the first Mac 
MIDI album, MIDI Jazz, featuring Boston 
Pops pianist Bob Winter playing chestnuts like 
Coltrane's "Giant Steps." (Imagine if it were 
'Trane himself.) Because MIDI is a virtual 
license to steal, a copyright jurist's nightmare 
looms. But for now, MIDI and the Mac are at 
the cutting edge of this exciting film/video/ 
music/audio computer interface. And in the 
spirit of the Mac's uniform visual interface, dif- 
ferent companies have agreed to write MIDI 
software in such a way that music files can be ex- 
changed among them. (This is not the case with 
MIDI software generally.) MIDIworks from 
Musicworks enables the conversion of MIDI 
data to and from Musicwork's own software and 
such notable programs as Mark of the Unicorn's 
Professional Composer, a powerful — up to 40 
staves — score-processor for editing and printing 
notation; Unicorn's Performer, which, with 
Professional Composer, will instantly transcribe 
and print what is played on the keyboard; and 
Southworth Music System's Total Music, which 
features a SMPTE/MIDI synchronizer-control- 
ler that turns a Mac Plus into a 16-track recorder 



JUNE/JULY 1986 



THE INDEPENDENT 



21 



« File Edit Chart Task Layout Dates Fonts Style 


: : - 


^n 


Sample 


Project — 








+ 

Task Name Days Earliest Start Earliest Finish Latest Start 




1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 

9 

10 

1 1 

12 

13 

14 


Start 





9/24/84 


9/24/84 


9/24/84 


Talk to investors 


5 


9/24/84 


10/1/84 


10/9/84 


Arrange financing 


20 


9/24/84 


10/22/84 


9/24/84 


Visit locations 


4 


10/1 /84 


10/5/84 


10/16/84 


Decide on location 





10/22/84 


10/22/84 


10/22/84 


Prepare offer 


10 


10/22/84 


1 1 /5/84 


1 1 /5/84 


Investigate buildings in area 


20 


10/22/84 


11 /19/84 


10/22/84 


Investigate zoning laws 


10 


10/22/84 


1 1 /5/84 


11/5/84 


Present offer 





11/19/84 


11/19/84 


1 1/19/84 


Seller makes counter offer 


10 


11/19/84 


12/4/84 


11/19/84 


Offer accepted 





12/4/84 


12/4/84 


12/4/84 


Begin escrow 





12/4/84 


12/4/84 


12/18/84 


Apply for financing 


15 


12/4/84 


12/26/84 


1/9/85 


Structural repairs 


40 


12/4/84 


1/30/85 


1 2/4/84 










Ol I- IC 


BJ 



* File Edit Chart Task Layout Dates ^Fonts Style 



IDI 



Sample Project 



K> 



9/24 10/1 



9/24/84 




EC 



sm 



-■> 



Left: MacProject lists a sequence of events and tasks, with the most important highlighted in boldface. Right: the same program can also create 
a critical path timeline to facilitate planning. 



with built-in reverb, effects, and looping. 
Southworth's Total Music SMPTE/MIDI 
system will record up to 200,000 notes, enough 
for four Beethoven Fifth Symphonies or a tune- 
ful feature film. 

Since virtually all Mac software, with the ex- 
ception of games, is potentially useful to the low- 
budget producer, the list could go on and on. Of 
further interest might be: Microsoft's Word, a 
word-processor that can window up to four 
documents on the screen at once, allowing, for 
instance, a transcribed videotape interview in 
one window and voiceover with editing notes in a 
second; Microsoft's Excel, a fully featured ver- 
sion of the popular Microsoft spreadsheet, 
Multiplan, that can systematize production bud- 
geting and simplify bidding procedures while 
preserving, like all Mac financial software, un- 
matched ease-of-use; Odesta's Double Helix, a 
relational database management program that is 
both Mac-like — relations and calculations are 
built by icons — and powerful enough to 
organize a freelancer's entire business, maintain- 
ing lists of equipment and expenses, keeping 
track of invoice histories, indeed, generating the 
invoices themselves; Apple's own CAD (com- 
puter-aided design) program MacDraw that — 
as several film, theatrical, and TV station 
designers have discovered — lends itself to scaled 
overhead layouts of props, lighting, blocking, 
even editing suites; and Aldus Corp's Page- 
maker, desktop publishing software that, when 
used with the LaserWriter, produces photo- 
illustrated flyers, publicity sheets, and newslet- 
ters of near offset quality. 

MAC INDIES 

The list of independents employing the Mac on a 
day-to-day basis is expanding. In New York City 
alone, the office of Emmy-winning David Tap- 
per Productions enlists two Macs and 
Microsoft's Multiplan for spreadsheets, 
Monogram's Dollars and Sense for financial 
management, and ProVue Development Corp's 

22 THE INDEPENDENT 



OverVue for databases. Tapper writes project 
proposals with Microsoft's Word and prints 
them on the LaserWriter at a local copyshop. 
With his two megabyte RAM "Monster Mac," 
upgraded from 512K by Levco Enterprises, Eric 
Solstein of Mo Fo To Co Productions uses all of 
the above plus Odesta's Double Helix to do cost- 
benefit analyses of equipment rentals and to bill 
clients. Double Helix also targets mailing lists 
and organizes titles, scheduling, and shipping at 
Filmmaker's Library, a small distribution com- 
pany where, according to Lizzie Zucker, orders 
now get done "five times as fast" because of two 
Macs and a 20 megabyte MacBottom hard disk. 
She hopes to get a third soon. Rick Prelinger of 
Prelinger Associates, a stock footage archive, 
uses the Mac and Stoneware's database manage- 
ment program, DB Master, to inventory, and 
locate thousands of film sequences by subject. 
Joe Kelly of Perpetual Productions, producer of 
Diane Keaton's new documentary Heaven, uses 
the Mac and the database manager Interlace 
from Singular Software to keep track of 16mm 
edge numbers, shot descriptions, and rights and 
clearances of compilation footage. He likes the 
fact that, since a person with no computer ex- 
perience can do data entry on the Mac, he can 
hire anyone. 

Perhaps no one has exploited the Mac's pro- 
duction potential more fully than Foresight 
Films' Tom Brown and Meg Switzgable, who are 
producing a dramatic feature, Passing through 
Linden, about the smoldering issue of industrial 
waste. They and their production assistants uti- 
lize two 512K Macs and two Mac Plus's with in- 
ternal Hyperdrive 20 megabyte hard disks net- 
worked via Appletalk to a LaserWriter that's tuck- 
ed away in the closet of their Brooklyn apart- 
ment. They have mapped their plot with Apple's 
MacProject, scripted with Microsoft Word, for- 
matted with Scriptor, printed scripts with the 
LaserWriter (to make the technology transparent 
to sensitive actors, Brown uses the LaserWriter 
font Courier, which mimics the look of a manual 
typewriter), and storyboarded with Apple's 



MacPaint using Summagraphic's MacTablet 
stylus and digitizing pad, Koala's MacVision 
cum video camera, and Thunderscan. For cross- 
referencing resources and budgeting, they use 
both Excel and Helix. Correspondence is sent by 
MCI e-mail using the Apple 300/1200 baud Per- 
sonal Modem and Red Ryder telecommunica- 
tions software. Graphics, such as MacProject 
flow charts, are sent out by modem using 
Binhex, a program obtained free from the 
popular on-line subscriber database Com- 
puServe. Brown, by the way, was in charge of 
electronic cinema development at Zoetrope 
Studios when Zoetrope was one of three pro- 
totype test sites for the ill-fated Xerox Star. 

Recommended Resources 

Mac World: The first and still one of the best of several 
monthly Mac periodicals. It's timely, well-written, and 
superbly illustrated. 

The Apple Macintosh Book, by Cary Lu: Published by 
Microsoft Press, this is the best, most engaging in- 
troduction to the Mac, hands down. Be sure to get the 
latest edition, not the original red-bound version, 
which was published well before the 512K Mac and 
Mac Plus. 

New York Macintosh User's Group: The largest 
anywhere, NYMUG publishes the excellent monthly, 
The Mac Street Journal (name subject to change pen- 
ding the outcome of a law suit by a large fast food 
chain) and sponsors active Music and Film/Video 
SIGs (special interest groups). For further info and 
SIG schedules, call (212) 473-9684. 
Berkeley Macintosh User's Group: Membership in- 
cludes the twice-yearly newsletter, each over 100 pages 
of user reviews and other grassroots good stuff. Call 
publisher Reese M. Jones at (415) 849-9114. 
Digital Music Center: See the Mac MIDI software that 
you've heard about. Give it a listen and gawk at 155 E. 
46th St., 5th fl., Big Apple, or call (212) 921-2835 or 
(212) 302^606. 

David W. Leitner is a film/video consultant and 
cinematographer based in New York City. He is 
chairperson of the NYMUG Film/ Video SIG. 



© David W. Leitner 1986. 



JUNE/JULY 1986 




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AS THE WORLD TURNS: 

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Penelope Spheeris's 
"The Boys Next Door" 
was the only U.S. pro- 
duction in competition 
at last year's Montreal 
World Film Festival. 

Cajtesy National Film Theatre 



D.S. Moore 



Serge Losique, director of the Montreal World 
Film Festival, must be part Texan. Losique con- 
tends that he will create "the biggest and best 
film festival ever anywhere" for the festival's 
tenth anniversary, scheduled August 21 -Sep- 
tember 1 . His isn't a case of delusions of gran- 
deur, though; with an anticipated quarter of a 
million in attendance in 1986, the Montreal 
World Film Festival is, according to Variety, the 
most popularly attended film festival in the 
world. As evidenced by the 500 screenings of 200 
features and 160 shorts from 53 countries in 
1985, Montreal World is a truly massive event. 
The projected budget for 1986, gleaned from 
city, provincial, and Canadian government 
sources, as well as corporate and private spon- 
sors, is a whopping $2-million. Losique, known 
to the local press as "Little Napoleon" for his 

24 THE INDEPENDENT 



great ego, diminuitive stature, and unquench- 
able ambition, would like nothing more than to 
see his festival become "the Cannes of North 
America." It may be that Montreal World will 
never achieve the glamour or the industry and 
media clout of Cannes, but when daily screen- 
ings in seven large theaters draw consistently sell- 
out crowds, Losique is clearly in possession of an 
embarrassment of riches. 

"We are truly an international festival," says 
publicist David Novek. "With films from over 
50 countries, no single country has more than 
one film in competition each year." Of 20 films 
in competition last year, the only U.S. produc- 
tion was Penelope Spheeris's 77ie Boys Next 
Door, a film that most journalists found inap- 
propriate for that category. Most U.S. indepen- 
dent films are placed in the Cinema of Today and 
Tomorrow category, the most general and least 
prestigious section. And interestingly, nearly 
every U.S. independent film selected in 1985 was 
a documentary, a form commonly agreed to 



elicit more respect and interest in Canada than in 
the U.S. These included Frederick Wiseman's 
Racetrack, Streetwise, Breaking Silence and 
Dances Sacred and Profane, by Mark and Dan 
Jury. As for the Hollywood studios, they have 
traditionally been loath to put up films for com- 
petition at Montreal, or to enter them in the 
festival at all, a situation that Losique is 
energetically seeking to rectify. The last U.S. 
films to be awarded prizes in Montreal were the 
half English, half Spanish El Norte, winner of 
the Grand Prix des Ameriques in 1984, and Li- 
quid Sky, directed by Soviet emigre Slava 
Tsukerman, which won a Special Jury Prize in 
1982. 

For U.S. independents whose films are chos- 
en, the exposure of Montreal World is gratify- 
ing, but the Montreal experience can spell 
anything from excitement to frustration. The 
audiences in Montreal are unanimously praised 
as "phenomenal," but as a business environ- 
ment, its value to independents varies. "Every 
JUNE/ JULY 1986 



filmmaker, regardless of what film he had, was 
given a press conference, which was aired on 
cable TV," recalls Kirby Dick, whose Private 
Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate was 
selected in 1985. "In Montreal," Dick adds, 
"you don't get classified as an independent— 
every film has its moment. There is an incredibly 
large staff doing your xeroxing and setting up 
press connections for you." 

Shirley Clarke, whose documentary Ornette. . . 
Made in America was picked in 1985, calls Mont- 
real "one of the best festivals in the world. It's the 
most well-run film festival, and always has been." 
Clarke adds that "Canada has a great history of 
supporting the non-theatrical film. If a documen- 
tary filmmaker is looking for a good place to 
launch his film, he can't lose in Montreal." D.A. 
Pennebaker, producer of another 1985 selection, 
Dance Black America, agrees that Montreal is 
"terrific, with the sophistication of a European 
festival. [It] makes you feel like a celebrity." Pen- 
nebaker recalls that he and his party were "flown 
up there and put up at the Meridien Hotel for 
several days." 

Unfortunately, the royal treatment isn't 
always democratically distributed. Kerouac pro- 
ducer Will Parinello says he and coproducer 
John Antonelli were "put up for three days at 
the hotel," but "had to come up with the airfare 
ourselves." The two also found Montreal World 
a difficult place to hustle their film. According to 
Antonelli, the International Film, TV and Video 
Market, held within the framework of the 
festival August 24-31, "was not well promoted. 
The festival does so little for the filmmaker that 
U.S. independents should expect to do their own 
planning and legwork." Parinello adds, "I 
strongly advise setting up contacts with 
distributors well in advance of the market 
week." With 224 buyers and 288 sellers in 1985, 
the Montreal market is growing steadily, but the 
usual complaints about the absence of major 
studios are still voiced. Even market director 
Jacqueline Dinsmoor complains, "Since the 
market is not yet well-established, most pro- 
ducers wandered in late after realizing the suc- 
cess of their screenings . " Antonelli also feels that 
"the small indie film is looked down on in Mont- 
real. Their attitude is 'you're lucky to be here.' " 
The festival puts out a daily publication about its 
activities, but Antonelli claims, "It didn't even 
mention our film." And the Montreal dailies 
"didn't do a review of Kerouac at all." Thus the 
potential for getting lost in the suffle at Mont- 
real is very real. 

In general, filmmakers agree that Montreal 
World, for a festival of its size, is extremely well- 
organized and efficiently run. Satisfied film- 
makers found that press conferences, the daily 
newsletter, and reviews in the daily newspapers 
augment the potential for a film to get a high pro- 
file. But reports from independents who have at- 
tended are too inconsistent to merit an un- 
qualified stamp of approval. 
JUNE/JULY 1986 



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Benefits of Montreal World include the 
pleasures of a culturally vibrant city and the at- 
mosphere generated by the presence of literally 
hundreds of filmmakers from every part of the 
globe. Everyone with a film in the festival is 
housed at the Meridien Hotel, which is also the 
site of the International Film, TV and Video 
Market. The Meridien is centrally located in 
downtown Montreal and is walking distance from 
the city's plentiful cultural resources. The screen- 
ing facilities are generally termed "excellent," and 



each film is screened up to three times. 

Filmmakers whose films are selected this year 
will witness the monstrous celebration that is in 
store for the festival's tenth anniversary. Follow- 
ing a gala screening of Kurosawa's Ran, the 
festival's special section this year will feature the 
theme "Cinema and Peace." British film will also 
be highlighted, and at the market there will be a 
special emphasis on Canadian television buyers. 
Perhaps most important to Serge Losique's aspi- 
ration to equal Cannes, an "honorary Hollywood 



THE RIVALS: MONTREAL WORLD VS MONTREAL NOUVEAU 



26 THE INDEPENDENT 



Despite his prominence in the Montreal film 
world, the path to success for festival director 
Serge Losique has not been untroubled. In 
building Montreal World into a mammoth, 
world-class film event, Losique has stepped 
on many toes and made more than a few 
enemies. Helga Stevenson, the Toronto Film 
Festival's director of communications, calls 
Losique "a brilliant, quixotic character. He 
has a good festival, but he is wild." Kay Ar- 
mitage, a programmer at Toronto, adds that 
Losique "tends to be so aggressive because 
he's a one-man show, whereas in Toronto 
there is no single personality in dominance." 

The first public flap involving Losique oc- 
curred in 1982, when he agreed to serve as an 
advisor to France's Gaumont Studios. A con- 
sortium of independent Canadian distribu- 
tors accused him of conflict of interest, and 
Losique responded by springing a $1 -million 
libel suit on them, claiming they were "at- 
tempting to sabotage the festival's opera- 
tions." In support of the distributors, who 
boycotted the 1982 festival, the Cinema 
Board of the Quebec goverment withheld a 
$50,000 grant from Montreal World. The libel 
suit was subsequently dropped, but 'Taffaire 
Gaumont" was not to be the last time Losique 
would find himself in muddy waters. 

In 1984 he mounted an apparently unpro- 
voked public attack against the city's other 
major film festival, Montreal Nouveau, 
charging them with conflict of interest in re- 
gard to distribution deals and with false 
advertising in regard to the history of their 
festival. Claude Chamberlan, codirector of 
Montreal Nouveau, feels that Losique's at- 
tacks were part of an effort to run Nouveau 
out of town, explaining, "Losique warned us 
to 'stay underground' and show only 16mm 
films." Observes Toronto's Stevenson, 
"Serge tried to annihilate [Nouveau]." Since 
the smaller festival has always been devoted 
exclusively to independent film, Chamberlan 
couldn't understand why the two festivals 
were unable to coexist peacefully. And now 
in 1986, the rancor between the two festivals 



has erupted publicly again. 

At issue is a deal to program the films from 
the Director's Fortnight section of the Can- 
nes Film Festival at Montreal World in 1986, 
struck by Losique and his long-time asso- 
ciate, Fortnight director Pierre-Henri De- 
leau. Although officially this is a one-time 
only event in honor of Montreal World's 
tenth anniversary, rumors have been cir- 
culating that 1986 will be the last year the 
Director's Fortnight will be part of the Can- 
nes event. Consequently, Chamberlan con- 
tends that this deal is a permanent arrange- 
ment designed to rescue Deleau's threatened 
enterprise. In a public statement issued in ear- 
ly April, Chamberlan and his codirector 
Dmitri Eipedis accused Deleau of "abus[ing] 
his privileges" by requiring Fortnight film- 
makers to grant him exclusive rights to pre- 
sent their films at Montreal World. Accord- 
ing to their statement, the move deprives 
"directors of their legitimate right to choose 
festivals for their films in North America," as 
as well as depriving Montreal Nouveau and 
other Canadian festivals of the right to select 
films from Cannes, "traditionally a source of 
films "for every festival in the world." 

According to a spokesperson for the Di- 
rector's Fortnight, none of the staff "knows 
what will happen next year," although he ad- 
mitted they do not have a theater in Cannes 
lined up for 1987. As for undue pressure on 
filmmakers to give permission for exclusive 
screenings of their films at Montreal World, 
he explained, "It's up to the director." 
Should anyone refuse, "There's nothing we 
can do about it. We need the films." 

Because Montreal Nouveau has often 
screened the same independent films featured 
in the Director's Fortnight, Chamberlan and 
Eipedis also see the move as another Losique 
ploy to eliminate their festival. The Montreal 
World Festival declined comment on Cham- 
berlan and Eipedis's statement. However, the 
festival's lawyers believe it contains "libelous 
and defamatory" language. 

—DM 



JUNE/JULY 1986 



committee" composed of executives from each of 
the major studios has been formed for the anni- 
versary edition. Losique hopes that his intensive 
lobbying of Jack Valenti, president of the Motion 
Picture Association, and the involvement of 
studio heads will yield some plum pictures with 
their stars and directors in tow. Losique attests 
that the Hollywood studios "know that Montreal 
is the most important festival in North America," 
and that "they are cooperating to make our tenth 
anniversary the biggest film festival ever held any- 
where." 

D.S. Moore is a freelance writer who specializes 
in film. 

Montreal World Film Festival will be held from 
August 21-September 1. Deadline: July 11. For- 
mats: 35mm only for Official Competition, which 
includes features and shorts up to 15 minutes. 
Cinema of Today and Tomorrow section invites 
feature narratives, documentaries, and shorts in 
16mm and 35mm; any running time. No fee. 
Non-competitive. Contact 1455 de Mainsonneuve 
Blve. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H 3G 
1MB; tel. (514) 879-4057, 7285; telex 05-25472. 



LONDON CALLING: 
THE LONDON 
INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL 



Attendance records were broken for the second 
year in a row at the 1985 London Film Festival, 
as 68,000 filled festival theaters to near capacity. 
As in 1984, when box office receipts rose a 
whopping 50 percent, the crowds were attracted 
by the opportunity to see Hollywood films like 
Silverado, The Goonies, Back to the Future, and 
Year of the Dragon prior to their theatrical 
premieres. Their inclusion is part of the pro- 
gramming strategy implemented by Derek 
Malcolm, film critic of the London daily the 
Guardian, who in 1985 completed his second 
year as director and programmer of this non- 
competitive, invitational event. 

"I came as a stop-gap director," explains 
Malcolm, who this year will be sharing festival 
leadership with Sheila Whitaker, programmer of 
Britain's National Film Theatre. "I decided I 
wouldn't just be a caretaker and do everything as 
usual. I wanted to increase the festival's public 
appeal and profile. I geared all the publicity to 
the fact that a film festival is not a cultural ghetto 
but a celebration of film in all its forms. In 1984 
we opened with Gremlins, which altered the 
JUNE/JULY 1986 



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at Shreveport, Louisiana's 1986 Red River Revel Arts 

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animated, or experimental film and video work 

concerning the South. 

Prizes at $500 for first place, $200 for second place, 
and $100 for third place are offered in both film and 
video categories. Rental fees are available for work 

accepted for exhibition. Jurors include Perrin 

Ireland, Media Arts Program, National Endowment of 

the Arts, and Stevenson Palfi, video producer. Entry 

deadline: August 15, 1986. For entry forms call or 

write the Red River Revel Arts Festival, 101 Milam, 

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28 THE INDEPENDENT 



public's concept of the festival. But we also have 
30 third world films, and over 20 American in- 
dependents." 

London, which will celebrate its thirtieth an- 
niversary in 1986, is not the place to discover 
films fresh from the cutting room. Nor does it 
offer filmgoers first peek at the future gems of 
the festival circuit. Rather it is primarily a festival 
for catching up with titles you've previously 
missed. With the exception of the premieres of 
British features, selections are made from other 
festivals: what was hot in Berlin back in 
February, or at Cannes in May, or Moscow in 
July, is on display in London in November. I had 
already seen many of the featured independent 
films of 1985 {Echo Park, Desert Hearts, 
Ornette. . . Made in America, The Killing Floor, 
1918, Racetrack, Almost You, America and 
Lewis Hine, Streetwise, and Before Stonewall), 
sometimes as much as a year before. Quite a few 
had been picked up for distribution in Britain 
prior to the festival, and some were to be part of 
a festival-sponsored tour of over a dozen sites 
throughout the United Kingdom. There was also 
a sidebar of 16mm films by U.S. women film- 
makers, programmed by filmmaker-teacher- 
writer Su Friedrich. A couple of dozen shorts 
were also scheduled, but only as lead-ins to 
features. 

In typically British fashion, the festival at- 
mosphere is quite pleasant and civilized. No 
more than two or three screenings are scheduled 
at any one time, with many titles offered twice, 
so scheduling conflicts are happily rare. Most 
films are shown in the two houses of the Na- 
tional Film Theatre, which, along with the 
British Film Institute's Dean Street screening 
room, is also the site of press screenings before 
and during the festival. The eight additional 
venues used are either within walking distance of 
the NFT or a quick underground ride away. 

A handsome, gloriously detailed 220-page 
festival book serves as a welcome source of infor- 
mation on films and filmmakers. Audiences are 
enthusiastic, and there are ample opportunities 
to ask attending directors questions after the 
screenings. Celebrities are in evidence, with an 
appropriate stress on the local industry's big 
names — John Gielgud, Jeremy Irons, Michael 
Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Billie Whitelaw, 
John Boorman and Trevor Howard — but the 
glitz is thankfully minimized. Festival staff is 
consistently helpful, and there is a hospitality 
room open each evening in the NFT. 

While the festival is relatively low-key, the 
business of film is not overlooked. Represen- 
tatives of the BBC and Channel 4 are ever- 
present, along with TV programmers and festi- 
val directors from a variety of markets in the 
United Kingdom and on the continent. Says 
Malcolm, "The selection of a film will auto- 
matically encourage distributors to search it out, 
to look at it more closely with distribution in 
mind." He stresses that "we are not a buying 
JUNE/JULY 1986 




38 ways to give your 
lighting a lift 



"Latino," Haskel Wexler's story of a U.S. soldier involved in covert operations in Nicaragua, was 
featured at the 1985 London Film Festival. 

Courtesy National Film Theatre 



market, but we still do our best to encourage 
sales." 

Each filmmaker receives a list of British 
distributors, big and small, plus the titles each 
has released. Whenever possible, the festival will 
try to put the filmmaker in touch with appro- 
priate distributors. "It's very rare that an 
American independent doesn't get a sale of some 
kind," Malcolm notes. "I'd say 70 percent have 
a good chance of being shown here, either in a 
cinema or on television." At festival's end, over 
70 percent of the 160 features screened had, in 
fact, been bought for distribution in Great Bri- 
tain. Variety even told of an unnamed Scandina- 
vian distributor who supposedly made no less 
than 36 deals at the festival. 

Beyond the dealmaking, a successful screen- 
ing in London can do much to enhance a film- 
maker's reputation. "We screened Penelope 
Spheeris's Suburbia in 1984," Malcolm recalls. 
"It was a film that no one had ever heard of. But 
we dug it up, and it did extremely well critically. 
As a result, we've helped Penelope become 
respected in Europe, and especially in England, 
as a serious director." In 1985, Spheeris's The 
Boys Next Door opened theatrically in London 
immediately following its festival appearance. 

"The London festival is excellent," observes 
Derek Hill, who advises Channel 4 on the selec- 
tion of films — particularly independents — from 
international suppliers. "It gets independents ex- 
posure in the right direction. A lot of buyers and 
international festival directors are here. London 
is a key festival now for independents." If your 
film is invited to London, you should not only 
attend but make sure your presence is felt. 
Follow through with distributors. Be certain that 
the Derek Hills show up at your screenings. 

London is definitely a filmmaker's festival. 
"There's no distinction made between Holly- 
wood films and independents," says Greta 
Schiller, director of Before Stonewall. "At other 
JUNE/JULY 1986 



festivals, there is one between documentaries 
and features, low budget and high budget, films 
that come alone or just with their directors and 
those with big entourages. In London, this is all 
broken down." Indeed, in the festival guide, 
Before Stonewall shares a page with The 
Goonies, giving Schiller equal billing with Steven 
Spielberg. 

Adds Frederick Wiseman, whose latest effort, 
Racetrack, was screened in 1985, "London is 
great for a variety of reasons: its congeniality, the 
diversity of the films they show, the chance to 
meet and socialize with filmmakers, distributors 
and critics. The sheet of paper I received with 
lists of contacts is extremely helpful, because you 
don't have to spend time trying to figure out the 
right distributors and individuals to see. London 
is the good housekeeping seal of approval for the 
acceptance of your film in Europe. It's a major 
step in the independent's necessary effort to 
distribute his own films." —RobEdelman 

Rob Edelman is a New York-based journalist 
and programming consultant for film and video. 

London Film Festival is held in November. En- 
try deadline: August. Accepts feature narratives, 
documentaries, and shorts in 16mm and 35mm. 
Video OK for preselection. Non-competitive. 
No fee. Contact Derek Malcolm, director, or 
Helen Loveridge. Clive Hagsden programmed 
shorts in 1986. National Film Theatre, South 
Bank, London, SEI 8XT, England; tel. 01 928 
3842; telex 27624. 



IN BRIEF 



This month's festivals have been compiled 
by Robert Aaronson. Li